DHARAMSHALA, India, 17 March 2020
The main Tibetan temple in McLeod Ganj has been closed for public in view of the coronavirus pandemic, the office of the Dalai Lama said today.
Tsuglakhang temple, which is situated in Dharamshala’s McLeod Ganj area, is popular among tourists and Buddhists across the world.
“In view of the coronavirus ‘COVID-19’ outbreak as well as a precautionary measures by various Indian government including the imposition of section 144 by Kangra district administration, the main Tibetan temple (Tsuglakhang) will be closed from tomorrow (Wednesday) until 15 April subject to further notice,” the office of the Dalai Lama said in a statement.
The other major Tibetan temple of Gyuto Monastery, where the Karmapa Lama was temporarily housed, near Sidhwari in Dharamshala was already closed.
Tenzin Jigme and Tenzin Paljor, Press Officers, Department of Information and International Relations, told news agency PTI, “Few monasteries are closed till date. Regarding the closing of Tibetan monasteries all over India, it depends on the administration of the respective monasteries, we have no rights to interfere in their decision making”.
Mr Jigme said that in response to the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic, the Central Tibetan Administration issued new guidelines, calling on Tibetan monasteries, schools and elder care homes in India, Nepal and Bhutan to cancel public gatherings for one month.
The guidelines also call on all boarding and day schools to be closed for a minimum of one month; elderly care homes to restrict all outside visitors except for the staff and nurses; all the staff members of the Central Tibetan Administration, both at the centre as well as at the regional level, to postpone all official visits and to refrain from holding any meetings, training programmes and workshops for one month among others.
The guidelines are to be implemented for a minimum of one month while at the same time following the guidelines issued by the respective state governments.
India has reported 137 positive cases include 22 foreign nationals. So far, three people have lost their lives after getting infected with the virus.