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07april2011811Dharamshala: - Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama Wednesday (6 April) graced the opening of a museum dedicated to Maharaja Sansar Chand, the erstwhile king of Kangra and a descendant of Katoch Dynasty which is considered to be one of the oldest surviving royal dynasty in the world.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Kalon Tripa Prof Samdhong said: "It is a great honour for all of us to have His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the official opening of Maharaja Sansar Chand Museum. The museum gives the entire glimpse of the millenia-old history of Kangra's dynasty, culture and art."

Kalon Tripa said a museum is a centre for preservation, display and research. It is not merely a destination of tourists but it should be a centre of learning and research."

"So this museum would greatly help us in understanding the history of Kangra in years to come. Kangra has been a valley of Buddhist monasteries and temples but people have forgotten them with the passage of time," he said.

Kalon Tripa spoke on the importance of efforts to be made to excavate the historic site in Kangra so that it will give a new dimension to the history of India as well as that of Kangra.

Speaking on the occasion, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said: "I don't know much about the history of Kangra even though I have been living here for the past 50 years. But today during my visit here to this exhibition of artifacts related with the royal dynasty of Kangra, I have learned something new about the region's history. Similarly, even if these antiquities are just memorabilia, it will certainly bring alive Kangra's hundreds of years old history in the interest of the visitors," His Holiness added.

Maharaja Sansar Chandra inherited the throne of Kangra when he was just 10 years old. By the age of 21 he had defeated the Mughals and had won back his ancestral fort of Kangra. True to the saying "He who hold's the Fort rules the hills" the young Maharaja ushered in an age of prosperity and the Indian renaissance of paintings, the Kangra Group which supervises the museum said in its website.

The period 1786-1805 was the Golden age of Kangra. Maharaja Sansar Chandra established law and order in his vast empire, at its peak it his empire stretched from Lahaul-Spiti to the plains of Hoshiarpur [18000 sq.miles].

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