Lobsang says he is pleased that this year he has got six girls participating in the contest that draws substantial international attention to the Tibetan cause in general and Tibetan women in particular.
The contestants will undergo a hectic training program in the next seven days during which the girls will learn about Tibetan culture, philosophy, and current affairs. Activities also include yoga, dance, modelling, personality development, and excursions including visits to the Tibetan government-in-exile, monasteries, schools and NGOs.
Tenzin Khecheo from USA, Chemi Lhazom from Delhi, Dolma Tsering from Bangalore, Ngodup Dolma from Australia, Tenzin Sangmo from Dharamsala, and Tenzin Yangkyi from Switzerland will go through 3 rounds of contest that includes a swimwear round on June 3, talent round on June 4 and finale night on June 5.
When the first ever Miss Tibet pageant was held here in 2002 it instantly became a hit with media from all over converging on this north Indian hill town to get the ‘interesting’ story.
Only 32 girls have competed for the crown since it was first started in 2002 by Lobsang who drew criticism from some sections within the Tibetan society including the Tibetan prime minister Samdhong Rinpoche who said the pageant was ‘un-Tibetan’ and ‘against Buddhist principles’.
The comments made by the exile Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche in 2002 added the much needed twist to this pageant making it an even bigger attraction for the media. But the attraction has however dwindled over the years.
Prize money of hundred thousand rupees for the winner, fifty thousand for the first runner-up and 25,000 rupees for the second runner-up are up for grabs.
“Past winners have participated in seven international pageants in Malaysia, Mexico, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and the Philippines,” boasts Lobsang.