Celebrations as Dalai Lama turns 75

DHARAMSHALA, July 6, 2010 (AFP) – The Dalai Lama marks his 75th birthday on Tuesday, with thousands set to celebrate the occasion in his hometown-in-exile and events planned across the globe from Europe to Australia. The Nobel laureate will address a crowd of 5,000 fans and followers at his temple in McLeod Ganj, a hill station in the Indian Himalayas where he has lived since fleeing Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

In apparently fine health and showing no signs of slowing down despite his advanced years, the Buddhist spiritual leader will break with recent birthday tradition and greet well-wishers in person.

“Everything is ready,” said the man tasked with organising the festivities, Tashi Norbu, an official in the Tibetan government-in-exile based in nearby Dharamshala.

“This time, as it’s his 75th birthday, he also wanted to join the function,” he told AFP.

Elsewhere, Tibetan communities in North America, Europe and Australia are gearing up for music and cultural events to celebrate the day, while numerous Internet campaigns are collecting birthday messages.

Online advocacy group Avaaz.org is inviting people to send tributes via its website that will be posted on