Dharamsala: President Dr Lobsang Sangay, Central Tibetan Administration yesterday attended the annual festival of the local Gaddi tribe residing in and around Dharamshala.
President was welcomed by the local Pradhan, organising committee of the annual fete, Settlement Officer Dawa Rinchen and local community representatives.
The organising committee presented Dr Sangay with a traditional himachali cap, shawl and a memento.
Donning the traditional Gaddi cap, President Dr Sangay inaugurated the annual traditional wrestling game (Kushti).
He informed the local members about the upcoming Thank you Himachal Pradesh event being organised by CTA at Simla next month. He invited everyone to join the celebration to honour the friendship between Indian and Tibetan brothers and sisters.
He also thanked the Himachal government and people for hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people with love and respect.
“One day, when Tibetans are free to return to our homeland, we would invite all our Indian brothers and sisters to celebrate with us in Tibet,” he said.
Following the wrestling matches, President Dr Sangay felicitated the winners.
The Mcleod Ganj Mela is an over 200-year-old festival celebrated by the local Gaddi tribes residing in and around Dharamshala. The festival originated as a get-together for the Gaddi tribesmen who used to be scattered across various small colonies in the hills of Dauladhar range hundreds of years ago.
The Mela is usually held, following a pilgrimage to the sacred Manimahesh lake in Chamba district. For the Gaddi tribesmen of the region, pilgrimage to the lake is most holy. The religious significance of this lake is considered next to that of the Lake Manasarovar in Tibet.