Paris 15: About 5,000 Parisians visited the two days Himalayan Festival in Paris over the weekend, organized by Maison du Tibet, Paris. This is the 15th annual festival focusing on Himalayan cultural with special emphasizes on Tibet.
The festival started with Sangsol (traditional ritual incense offering) by Tibetan monks from the Gaden Jangtse Monastery.
Mrs. Jetsun Pema, fondly called Amala by Tibetans was the festival’s Chief Guest. She is the former Director of Tibetan Children’s Village. Though retired, Jetsun Pema is actively involved with the Dalai Lama Institute in Bangalore, India an institute for higher Tibetan studies.
“Put into practice what he (His Holiness the Dalai Lama) preaches. That is the best birthday present,” said Jetsun Pema during a panel discussion on “The contribution of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to World Peace.”
The other Panellist were Senator Mr. André Gattolin, French Journalist Mrs. Irène Frain and Ven Thubten Wangchen.
Dagpo Rinpoche, the first Tibetan spiritual teacher to immigrate to France in 1960 gave a talk on “The Essence of the teaching of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
He recalled the tremendous contribution His Holiness the Dalai Lama had made in the preservation and promotion of Tibetan Buddhism.
“What if His Holiness the Dalai Lama wasn’t able to escape to India?” Dagpo Rinpoche said. “What would have happened to our culture? So much was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution under Communist China in Tibet?
“The destruction of Tibetan Buddhism is even taking place today,” he said.
On the second day, there was a panel discussion on “The environmental challenges of the third pole by panellist Mrs Marie Holzman, Mr. Wang Weiluo, Senator André Gattolin and Mr. Alain Lamballe.
The Festival’s theme for the fist day was His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the second day on Tibet’s environment. During both the days, Tibetan related organisation had the opportunity to talk about their work. France Tibet commemorated its 25th year of work for Tibet.
Mrs. Jetsun Pema on behalf of the Tibetans especially thanked former French politician Mr. Jean-Michel Belorgey and Mr. Louis de Broissia who formed the first Tibet Group within the French Parliament in 1990. Jetsun Pema presented a Khata to Mr. Belorgey who was present at the festival.
Today both the French Senate and the National Assembly have Tibet Groups. In March they jointly invited the democratically elected Tibetan political leader Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay to the French Parliament for meetings and a joint press conference.
The festival was held at the Route de ceinture du Lac-Daumesnil. Over 34 tents were pitched around the festival venue for information-cum-stall for charities and others selling Tibetans items. There were two stalls raising funds for the earthquake in Nepal. Four large tents served food stall selling Tibetan food. A larger tent was used for screening documentaries on Tibetan history, culture and environment as well as talks on Tibet. The Pagoda was the venue for the construction of the Sand Mandala by the monks of Gaden Jangtse Monastery.
Paris based Tibetan artists performed and sang traditional Tibetan songs and dance. Tina and her friends performed Bolly Belly Dreams on both the days of the festival.
The festival ended with the much-anticipated three hours live performance by the famous French contemporary acoustic trance music group Hilight Tribe.
Maison du Tibet would like to express gratitude to all the French and Tibetan volunteers and to the Tibet Art who helped to put up the tents and the Tibetan stupa.