Present at the ceremony was Nobel peace prize winner His Holiness the Dalai Lama and chief guest Shri.Virbhadra Singh, the honorable Union Minister of Steel. Many senior officials also attended together with local Indians, Tibetans and tourists. Approximately 2000 people witnessed the ceremony at the main Tibetan temple. Tibetan artists from the Tibetan Performance Institute sang a ‘Thank You Himachal' song to inaugurate the celebrations.
Expressing profound gratitude towards local Indians and the Himachal government His Holiness said, "In remembering the hardship of the last 50 years, my thanks go to you as long-lasting and cherished friends." His Holiness then further elaborated on his experiences during his escape from Tibet through to India, and said, "When we reached the Indian border, we felt that we had been set free". He also told of the Indian government's support in establishing a community and schools for the exiled Tibetans.
He further addressed on the complexity of the Tibetan issues and the desire for a solution. He said "It is not an easy issue, and cannot be solved in a short time". His Holiness stressed that it is essential to have good relations between Chinese scholars and Tibetans, and emphasized that it is important that the Tibetan people do not perceive the Chinese general population as a whole as their enemy as this will impede on any solution to their situation.
Over the last 50 years the faith and devotion of both the Tibetans in exile and those still inside Tibet has not wavered. His Holiness the Dalai Lama urged the strength and courage of his people to continue into the future. He expressed his confidence that the Tibetan issue will be solved stating that "the truth is on our side, and our struggle for truth is also based on mutual benefit and integrity."
Professor Samdhong Ringpoche, the Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile spoke of his gratitude towards Himachal Pradesh and the local government. This was followed by a speech from the Union Minister of Steel. As a part of the thank you Himachal event the Tibetan Medical and Astrology Institute organized a free medical camp at Dari Ground at the foot of Dharamshala hill station.