Thousands of Tibetans have waved banners and lit incense in celebration of the Dalai Lama’s 77th birthday at his headquarters in northern India. Buddhist monks in ceremonial yellow hats blew traditional horns as they escorted the exiled spiritual leader to a temple in Dharmsala on Friday. Volunteers distributed sweets to supporters while schoolchildren danced. Spokesman Lobsang Cheodak said the Dalai Lama thanked followers in Tibet for their courage in countering the Chinese government’s crackdown on Tibetans. The Dalai Lama has been living in India since 1959. Beijing accuses him of seeking to separate Tibet from China. But Tibetans and the Dalai Lama say they simply want a high degree of autonomy under Chinese rule. — Photos by AFP, AP and Reuters

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, centre, is escorted by Tibetan monks as he leaves Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala. ? Photo by AP
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, centre, is escorted by Tibetan monks as he leaves Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala. ? Photo by AP
A Tibetan man prays at a monastery in Katmandu. ? Photo by AP
A Tibetan man prays at a monastery in Katmandu. ? Photo by AP
An exile Tibetan bows to pay his respect during birthday celebrations of spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, in Bangalore. ? Photo by AP
An exile Tibetan bows to pay his respect during birthday celebrations of spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, in Bangalore. ? Photo by AP
Tibetans in traditional costumes wait to perform at a cultural show in Katmandu. ? Photo by AP
Tibetans in traditional costumes wait to perform at a cultural show in Katmandu. ? Photo by AP
Children in traditional dress wait to perform in New Delhi. ? Photo by AP
Children in traditional dress wait to perform in New Delhi. ? Photo by AP
Tibetan school girl prepares to perform at a cultural show in Katmandu. ? Photo by AP
Tibetan school girl prepares to perform at a cultural show in Katmandu. ? Photo by AP
Tibetan monks place a portrait of spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at a monastery in Katmandu. ? Photo by AP
Tibetan monks place a portrait of spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at a monastery in Katmandu. ? Photo by AP
Tibetan nuns arrive at Chusang monastery as Nepalese police officers guard in Katmandu. ? Photo by AP
Tibetan nuns arrive at Chusang monastery as Nepalese police officers guard in Katmandu. ? Photo by AP
Tibetans gather to mark the birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at a monastery. ? Photo by AP
Tibetans gather to mark the birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at a monastery. ? Photo by AP
The Dalai Lama, right, listens to Lobsang Sangay, prime minister of Tibet
The Dalai Lama, right, listens to Lobsang Sangay, prime minister of Tibet's government in exile, during a function at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala. ? Photo by AP
An exile Tibetan in traditional costume waits to perform a dance at Tsuglakhang temple. ? Photo by AP
An exile Tibetan in traditional costume waits to perform a dance at Tsuglakhang temple. ? Photo by AP
Tibetans performs a traditional mask dance to celebrate the 77th birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Kathmandu. ? Photo by Reuters
Tibetans performs a traditional mask dance to celebrate the 77th birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Kathmandu. ? Photo by Reuters
A masked dancer with gets ready to perform a mask dance. ? Photo by Reuters
A masked dancer with gets ready to perform a mask dance. ? Photo by Reuters
A Tibetan girl dressed in traditional attire is pictured during the 77th birthday celebration of the exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Kathmandu. ? Photo by Reuters
A Tibetan girl dressed in traditional attire is pictured during the 77th birthday celebration of the exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Kathmandu. ? Photo by Reuters
Exile Tibetans in traditional costumes wait to perform at a cultural show in Katmandu. ? Photo by AFP
Exile Tibetans in traditional costumes wait to perform at a cultural show in Katmandu. ? Photo by AFP

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