Dalai Lama graces the occasion
It may have been a crunch match in the Indian Premier League, between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings, but his holiness the Dalai Lama, who was the chief guest, held centre stage.
On Saturday, a day after their match, the players of Kings XI Punjab and Deccan Chargers had an audience with him at his official palace in Dharamsala.
Photographs: IPL/Getty Images
Image: Dalai Lama with the Chennai Super Kings players
Lama presents Khata to all
Prior to match, the spritual leader met players from both teams and gave them a Khata, a traditional white robe of the Tibetans.
Accompanied by Preity Zinta, co-owner of Kings XI Punjab, the spiritual guru also met other dignatires present on the occasion.
The Bhuddist monk, who held a religious discourse with the players and franchisees on Saturday, watched Sunday's game with great interest.
Image: Dalai Lama presents Khata to MS Dhoni
Respected by one and all
His Holiness, born on July 6, 1935, to a family of farmers in a small hamlet in Taktser in northeastern Tibet, fled his homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising and has been staying in Dharamsala since.
He is the first Dalai Lama to travel to the West, where he seeks to spread Buddhist teachings and promote ethics and interfaith harmony.
In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was given honorary Canadian citizenship in 2006, and awarded the United States Congress Goold Medal in October 2007.
Image: Dalai Lama with Priety Zinta
Dharamshala, a new beginning
The HPCA stadium, one of the new venues in the country, is located nearly 1,457 metres above sea level, surrounded by the majestic Dhauladhar ranges.
It became part of the international cricket map in 2005, when it hosted a warm-up match between the touring Pakistan team and the Indian Board President's XI.
Since then, the stadium has hosted a few of Himachal Pradesh's home matches in the Ranji Trophy, apart from zonal one-day matches.
The stadium now boasts of world-class facilities required to host international matches.
Image: An overview of Dharamshala cricket ground