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Oct 14, 2006 at 09:50pm IST

Exiled Tibetians hold beauty contest

Dharamshala: As beauty pageants go, this is one with a difference. Tibetans living in exile in India gathered in Dharmshala to crown Miss Tibet 2006.

There was only one participant for the Miss Tibet crown last year but the 2006 pageant had a record six contestants turning up in Dharmshala - the seat of the exiled Tibetan government in Himachal Pradesh.

Says a contestant, Tenzin Palmo, "I am very glad to get this opportunity and I want our girls to come forward and participate in this beauty contest in the coming year. When we are getting this opportunity we must grasp it and try to contribute for our country."

The contestants came from Tibetan communities in other parts of India besides Dharmshala and the pageant will judge the contestants not only for their beauty but also intelligence and social conscience.

And despite opposition from traditional Tibetans, the popularity of the pageant appears all set to grow.