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17march201025Dharamshala: His Eminences the 17th Karmapa Urgyen Trinley Dorjee Saturday graced the 5th anniversary of Traditional Opera Festival, which is one of the biggest festivals of Tibet and continues for six-day celebration of Tibetan opera at seven Tibetan institutions including the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA).

In his welcome speech, Shosur, Sonam Choephel, director of the TIPA, expressed his gratitude to Karmapa Rinpoche for gracing the event and extended warm welcome to all the guests and audience.

Mr Sonam Choephel also thanked supporters from abroad, for their support in the revival and preservation of Shoton Festival - an ancient tradition of Tibet. He also detailed the historical origin of this ancient opera festival and emphasized the importance of Tibetan traditional performing arts.

Around 350 performers, from nine regional Tibetan opera groups in India and Nepal, are participating. They will present works including the stories of brothers Donyoe and Dhondup, Dharma King Drime Kunden, Princess Nangsa Woebum, Tibetan Maha Yogi, Jetsun Mila Ralpa, and Prince Norsang.

17march20103In the subsequent days of the festival,they will present various opera stories, including the stories of brothers Donyoe and Dhondup, Dharma King Drime Kunden, Princess Nangsa Woebum, Tibetan Maha Yogi, Jetsun Mila Ralpa, and Prince Norsang.

Shoton means "sour milk banquet" and the event is also known as "Buddha Exhibition Festival," because of the Buddha paintings that are displayed when it begins. The festival also traditionally included yak racing, horsemanship displays and gala parties.

Taking responsibility in reviving this ancient tradition, in late seventies, Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts organized Shoton Festival for the first time in India in 1993.

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