Dharamsala, December 15: The exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Sikkim on an eight-day visit.

His Holiness was received by Sikkim Chief Minister, Dr. Pawan Kumar Chamling and his cabinet colleagues at the Pelling Helipad in West Sikkim, Press Trust of India reported.

To honour the visit, the state government has banned the slaughter of animals in the state during the eight day stay of the Tibetan leader, the report said.

Special permits will be issued to individuals or government organizations intending to import meat, except poultry from outside the state for marriage and social ceremonies, an earlier report by PTI said, citing a circular issued by the Animal Husbandry, Livestock Fisheries, Vet erinary Services Department. Special permits will also be issued for feeding carnivores at the Himalayan Zoological Park at Bulbulay, the report added.

Upon his arrival today at the the Pelling Helipad, the monks from Pemayangtse Monastery in West Sikkim, which is considered one of the holiest monasteries in Sikkim, conducted the holy ‘Sherbang’, a traditional Buddhist ritual during which elaborate dances and prayers are offered in a procession for the Dalai Lama.

According to the report, thousands of people had come out to see the Dalai Lama and receive his blessings.

His Holiness was then escorted to the Pemayangtse Monastery where he was welcomed by the head of the monastery which houses hundreds of Buddhist monks.

From the Pemayangtse Monastery — near the Rabdentse ruins which is also the second ancient capital of Sikkim — The Dalai Lama then flew to Tashiding Monastery where he will be staying till December 17, the report said.

On December 18, the Dalai Lama will visit the town of Ravangla in South Sikkim where he shall address a congregation of people at the Tibetan settlement there. On the same day he is scheduled to visit the Ralong Monastery, probably the oldest monastery in Sikkim built during the late 1600’s.

His Holiness’s itinerary then includes a visit to Gangtok where he is scheduled to address a seminar before finally leaving for Dharamsala on December 22.