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Dalai Lama’s temple to open for public after two years

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Dalai Lama temple gate at McLeod Ganj (Photo/VOA Tibetan)

By Choekyi Lhamo

The Thekchen Choeling Tsuglakhang known commonly as the Dalai Lama’s temple here at the seat of the exile Tibetan diaspora is set to finally open its doors for visitors from Thursday, which marks the Tibetan New Year or Losar. From the onset of the pandemic, the temple completely shut down its gates for the public due to fear of the Covid-19 spread since March 2020.

After almost two years, the temple will now be open for all the devotees and visitors with precautionary protocols in place. The notice dated February 28 requested the public to wear masks at all times, maintain proper social distancing and sanitize as and when anyone enters the premises.

However, there are no change in information regarding the schedule in the upcoming months for the patron of the temple, His Holiness the Dalai Lama even though the temple is set to be open for devotees and tourists. The octogenarian leader met with the elected President of the Tibetan government-in-exile Penpa Tsering, and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in December.

The Dalai Lama has also not conducted any mass teachings or appearances in person since February 2020, as he suspended all engagements and meetings following the outbreak of the Covid-19 around the world. He commenced online teachings in May 2020, and was only seen once outside of his residence for his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination at a local hospital in Dharamshala in March last year.