Welcoming His Holiness Dalai Lama

Tibetan Residents of Mcleod Ganj, HP, India Line the Street Awaiting Return of HH Dalai Lama in October  2010

While he has now given up his role as the political head of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama 
continues to  travel internationally several times annually to give Buddhist teachings in addition to secular speeches on ethics and mind science.

Tibetans mark his return from each of these journeys with a show of devotion. They consider HH Dalai Lama to be a manifestation of the Buddhist compassion deity Chenrezig, and offer prayers, khata (prayer scarves), incense, and many other traditional emblems.

Tibetan Women in Traditional Dress Offer Khata Prayer Scarves as a Sign of Devotion While Awaiting Return of HH Dalai Lama to His Exile home in McleodGanj, HP, India

The community always knows the date, even the time almost down to the minute, when His Holiness will return back to his temple and residence complex. They begin to turn out that morning, often 4-6 hours ahead of him, to await the auspicious moment. Tibetans, along with long term expats and Buddhist students from around the world, and of course lucky tourists, line the streets along his 
return route and the entrance to his temple and residence complex and make offerings as they wait.
A Tibetan Child Plays Beside Older Family Members Offering Incense While Awaiting the Return of HH Dalai Lama to McleodGanj in June 2011
It is such a joy to hear the police sirens in advance of His Holiness' "motorcade" and know that he has arrived back again safely. The atmosphere of the entire town is noticeably different when "their god" (as he is sometimes referred to by local Indian media) is in residence. 

HH Dalai Lama is not actually considered to be a god. It is complicated, but the most simple As mentioned above, he is viewed in Tibetan Buddhism as an emanation, or manifestation, of the bodhisattva of compassion, known in Tibetan as Chenrezig (Sanskrit Avalokiteshvara). In his own words, he is nothing more than a "simple monk".
Special Banners Decorate the Tibetan Exile Capital of McleodGanj When He Returns from a State Visit
In This Instance, He Had Visited US President Barack Obama in February 2010

 All Images Copyright Tammy Winand and the Everyday Exile Project and may not be used in any way without her express written permission.

All images are available as prints and posters or upon request.