India’s most celebrated photojournalist, Raghu Rai, and Tibet’s iconic spiritual leader, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, share a common fate. Both were destined to lose their homelands. Partition forced Rai to escape from Pakistan’s Punjab province aged five, and His Holiness was almost twenty-four when he fled his summer palace in Lhasa to reach freedom and asylum in India. Their paths began to cross when Rai was discovered in Paris in 1972 by the legend of 20th-century photography, Henri Cartier – Bresson, who immediately voted him into the world’s most exclusive photo agency, Magnum. Assignments for European magazines then regularly led Rai to the Tibetans’ Himalayan headquarters in exile, Dharamsala, to photograph the Dalai Lama. The earliest images in A God in Exile are intimate glimpses into the private, everyday world of a dethroned god-king. As their proximity grew, the ease and affection with which they interacted matured into a special friendship. In charming anecdotes that divide various sections of the book, Rai relates incidents of humour, teasing, and generous cooperation, and of the open-heartedness with which His Holiness has always welcomed and hosted him. Whether allowing him to record private moments during personal pujas and at esoteric closed-door ceremonials, or inviting him to share his 80th-birthday lunch with his surviving brothers and sister and their families, the love and trust are palpable in Rai’s powerful images.
The history of the Dalai Lama lineage, and the discovery and upbringing of the 14th incarnation until his miraculous escape to India in March 1959, are outlined in a detailed and linear essay illustrated by archival images. The very work itself is ‘filled with his godly presence,’ in the words of Raghu Rai – a personal tribute to India’s most cherished guest and political refugee.

His Holiness The Dalai Lama, 1975

The Dalai Lama in conversation, 1975

The Dalai Lama in Meditation, 1975

His Holiness The Dalai Lama, 1995

His Holiness Against The Himalayas, 1995

The Dalai Lama with the map of Tibet, 1987

The Dalai Lama receiving an initiation from a venerated rinpoche, 1985

The Dalai Lama with his pet cat, 1979

The Dalai Lama repairing his Television, 1988

The Dalai Lama, Delhi 2015

The Dalai Lama with his elder brother, Dharamshala 2015

Devotees at the sermons from The Dalai Lama, Ladakh 2014

The Dalai Lama giving sermons, Dharamshala 2015

At his palace, Dharamshala 2015

During Kalachakra, Ladakh 2015

At Cathedral Church of Redemption, Delhi 2009

At Bodh Gaya, 2008

The Dalai Lama in meditation, Ladakh 1985

Preparing Mandala for kalachakra initiations, Ladakh 2014

Celebrating his 80th birthday at TCV, Ladakh 2015

In Ladakh, 2014

error: Content is protected !!