Monks Hold Prayers for Dalai Lama's Tawang Visit བོད་སྐད།

Hundreds of Buddhist monks and nuns at a 400-year-old monastery in Arunachal Pradesh began special prayers ahead of the Dalai Lama's visit in November to inaugurate a hospital for which he had donated Rs.20 lakh ($40,000).

The Tibetan leader is scheduled to visit Tawang, one of the last vestiges of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism and a major cause of tension over the decades-old border dispute between India and China.

China's Foreign Ministry has already voiced objection to the trip. China says Tawang, which is in Arunachal Pradesh, once belonged to Tibet and New Delhi should hand it back to help settle the row. China doesn't recognise Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India and has opposed the Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Tawang.

"As there is a controversy going on over Dalai Lama's visit, so we have started special prayers for his hassle-free trip," said Lopon Lama, one of the senior monks supervising the religious leader's visit.

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna Wednesday said "Dalai Lama is free to visit anywhere in India".

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and PTI.