In 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama escaped Chinese-occupied Tibet and took up residence in the hill town of McLeod Ganj, India.
Perched on a steep hillside overlooking Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj became the new seat for the Tibetan Government and a place of refuge for thousands of Tibetans who followed the Dalai Lama into exile.
Over the ensuing years, the small refugee settlement evolved into a major centre for the preservation of Tibetan religion, arts, culture and education and an important tourist and pilgrimage destination.
In this place of sanctuary exiled Tibetans are free to both worship and protest – freedoms denied to them in Tibet.
In late 2012, escalating demonstrations, vigils and prayer meetings focused the world’s attention on a spate of self-immolations in Tibet and provided a means for turning thoughts and passion into action.
7 November, 2012
As the Chinese government remains unflinching in its hardline repression of occupied Tibet, a growing sense of desperation has resulted in the horrifying escalation of self-immolation within Tibet, reaching critical proportions in late 2012.
November 7th 2012 was the most fatal day with news of five Tibetans setting themselves alight within 24 hours, triggering the largest demonstration yet in McLeod Ganj. The latest victims were Tamding Tso, a 23 year old mother from Drorong Po village in Rebkong, 3 monks aged 15 and 16 from Ngoshul Monastery and Tsegyal, a 27 year old man from Bankar village. But even as the demonstration got underway, word arrived that another man had died in Rebkong bringing the total number of self-immolations to 70.