AP PHOTOS: Dalai Lama turns 82, followers celebrate in India

Exile Tibetans watch a cultural dance performance as they mark the 82nd birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Dharmsala, India, Thursday, July 6, 2017. In a public event attended by hundreds, Tibetans danced, distributed sweets and offered their respects in front of a portrait of their leader. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
Elderly exiled Tibetans women pray during celebrations marking the 82nd birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at a Tibetan settlement in New Delhi, India, Thursday, July 6, 2017. Thousands belonging to Tibetan community waved white scarves and banners, lit incense and prayed for the Dalai Lama's long life as he turned 82 on Thursday. The Dalai Lama is currently visiting the Jokhang Gonpa, a Buddhist monastery, built in Ladakh in the Indian portion of Kashmir. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An exile Tibetan government official offers a ceremonial scarf 'khatag' in front of a portrait of his spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to mark the Tibetan leader's 82nd birthday in Dharmsala, India, Thursday, July 6, 2017. In a public event attended by hundreds, Tibetans danced, distributed sweets and offered their respects in front of a portrait of their leader. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
Exiled Tibetans women in their traditional dress repare for a dance performance during celebrations marking the 82nd birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at a Tibetan settlement in New Delhi, India, Thursday, July 6, 2017. Thousands belonging to Tibetan community waved white scarves and banners, lit incense and prayed for the Dalai Lama's long life as he turned 82 on Thursday. The Dalai Lama is currently visiting the Jokhang Gonpa, a Buddhist monastery, built in Ladakh in the Indian portion of Kashmir. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An exiled Tibetan woman in traditional dress, holds her scarf as she gets ready for a dance performance during celebrations to mark the 82nd birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at a Tibetan settlement in New Delhi, India, Thursday, July 6, 2017. Thousands of Tibetans living in exile in India waved white scarves, lit incense and offered prayers in celebration of the Dalai Lama's birthday. He turned 82 on Thursday. The Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of Tibetan community, cut a birthday cake and watched a performance of cultural dances and songs in Leh, a town in the Indian portion of Kashmir where a large number of his followers live.(AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
A Tibetan boy in traditional dress dances with others during celebrations marking the 82nd birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at a Tibetan settlement in New Delhi, India, Thursday, July 6, 2017. Thousands belonging to Tibetan community waved white scarves and banners, lit incense and prayed for the Dalai Lama's long life as he turned 82 Thursday. The Dalai Lama is currently visiting the Jokhang Gonpa, a Buddhist monastery, built in Ladakh in the Indian portion of Kashmir. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An exiled Tibetan woman applies make up to another as they prepare for a dance performance during celebrations marking the 82nd birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at a Tibetan settlement in New Delhi, India, Thursday, July 6, 2017. Thousands belonging to Tibetan community waved white scarves and banners, lit incense and prayed for the Dalai Lama's long life as he turned 82 on Thursday. The Dalai Lama is currently visiting the Jokhang Gonpa, a Buddhist monastery, built in Ladakh in the Indian portion of Kashmir. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Exile Tibetan musicians play the Tibetan national anthem on flutes as they mark the 82nd birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Dharmsala, India, Thursday, July 6, 2017. In a public event attended by hundreds, Tibetans danced, distributed sweets and offered their respects in front of a portrait of their leader. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
An exile Tibetan child participates in a dance performance as Tibetans mark the 82nd birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Dharmsala, India, Thursday, July 6, 2017. In a public event attended by hundreds, Tibetans danced, distributed sweets and offered their respects in front of a portrait of their leader. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
Tibetans children watch others dance as they wait for their turn to perform during celebrations marking the 82nd birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at a Tibetan settlement in New Delhi, India, Thursday, July 6, 2017. Thousands belonging to Tibetan community waved white scarves and banners, lit incense and prayed for the Dalai Lama's long life as he turned 82 on Thursday. The Dalai Lama is currently visiting the Jokhang Gonpa, a Buddhist monastery, built in Ladakh in the Indian portion of Kashmir. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Exile Tibetan volunteers cut a large cake to be distributed among the crowd as they mark the 82nd birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Dharmsala, India, Thursday, July 6, 2017. In a public event attended by hundreds, Tibetans danced, distributed sweets and offered their respects in front of a portrait of their leader. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

NEW DELHI — Thousands of Tibetans living in exile in India waved white scarves, lit incense and offered prayers in celebration of the Dalai Lama's 82nd birthday.

The Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of the Tibetan community, cut a cake and watched a performance of cultural dances and songs by young followers on Thursday in Leh, a town in the Indian-ruled portion of Kashmir where a large number of his followers live.

Many Tibetans and local Ladakh people cheered the Dalai Lama as he walked nearly one kilometer (0.6 mile) along a street to a big park for his birthday celebration. He joined prayers for his long life and heard speeches by Tibetan community leaders lauding his role in promoting the Tibetan cause, said Tseten Chhoekyaba, a Tibetan spokesman.

In New Delhi, the exiled Tibetan community gathered in a school and offered prayers and performed traditional dances as they celebrated the Dalai Lama's birthday. Volunteers distributed sweet rice to supporters while schoolchildren danced.

Similar celebrations were held in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, where the Dalai Lama has been living since he fled from Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. Beijing accuses him of seeking to separate Tibet from China, which he denies.

China doesn't recognize the Tibetan government-in-exile and hasn't held any dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama since 2010.

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