DHARAMSALA: The Dalai Lama's commitment to the Tibetan cause can only be described as timeless. So, is the 75-year-old spiritual leader's penchant for watches.
When he was seven, the Dalai Lama received his first watch a gold Rolex - from none other than former United States president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Roosevelt sent the gift to the Dalai Lama in 1942, as a symbol of gesture to secure relations with Tibet.
"I just like watches. I have 15 watches now, they are mostly gifts. My first watch was given to me by President (Franklin) Roosevelt.
"I like watches, I don't know why. Maybe, because I am a reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama.
"I was told (that) he was fond of pocket-watches, rosaries and horses, but I am afraid of horses," he burst out laughing, in his regular banter during an interview at his headquarters in Dharamsala, the power-base of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.
Perhaps, the most interviewed and photographed monk, often draped in his usual maroon and orange robes, he leads a monastic life with his staunch followers in the main temple of McLeod Ganj in Dharamsala.
He considers himself a Marxist.
The Dalai Lama was born Tenzin Gyatso in northeast of Tibet to a peasant family and is believed to be the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.
He fled to India in 1959, when Chinese troops entered Tibet's capital, Lhasa, to quell a national uprising, and he ended up in Dharamsala, northern state of Himachal Pradesh.
Eventually, Dharamsala became home for the exiled spiritual leader and thousands of escaping Tibetans over the past 50 years from where he champions the Tibetan cause. Bernama