March 17th 1959: Dalai Lama flees TibetOn this…

March 17th 1959: Dalai Lama flees Tibet

On this day in 1959, Tenzin Gyatso – the fourteenth Dalai Lama, a central figure of Vajrayana Buddhism – fled Tibet for
India. He fled following the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule
which broke out in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, where the Dalai Lama
lived. Fearing for his safety, he and around twenty of his entourage fled
Lhasa on March 17th and embarked on a 15 day journey on foot over the
Himalayan mountains to Dharamsala in India where they had been
offered asylum. No news was heard of the Dalai Lama, and many feared their
spiritual and political leader had been killed during the arduous journey. However, on March 30th he
crossed into India and people learned that he was safe. He was followed
by around 80,000 Tibetans who settled in the same area of India,
leading to it becoming known as ‘Little Lhasa’. This place became the
home to the Tibetan government-in-exile. Tibet remains under Chinese
rule, and the Dalai Lama continues to try to find a peaceful negotiation
for Tibetan self rule.