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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 June 2006, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Tibetan nuns finish epic trek
By Baldev Chauhan
Simla, Himachal Pradesh

The Dalai Lama
The pair will not meet the Dalai Lama until later this month
Two Tibetan nuns have arrived in a hill town in northern India to meet their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

They arrived days after dramatically fleeing Tibet. One of the nuns has reportedly complained of being sick.

Sources in the town of Dharamsala confirmed to the BBC that the much-awaited former political prisoners had reached the town from Nepal.

The women became well-known in Tibetan circles worldwide for songs they composed while they were imprisoned.

Notorious prison

The Dalai Lama is abroad and is not expected to return to Dharamsala until 12 June.

Mount Everest
The nuns had to cross inhospitable terrain

"Rigzin Choekyi and Lhundrub Zangmo made their risky journey across the frigid Himalayas into Nepal as the Chinese restrictions made it hard for them to survive at home," said the Indian Campaign for Tibet (ICT), an NGO.

The two nuns are reported to have been released from jail recently, after having been held along with other nuns in Tibet's notorious Drapchi prison. Rigzin Choekyi served 12 years in prison and Lhundrub Zangmo nine.

While in jail in 1993, they secretly recorded songs about the Dalai Lama and Tibet's future - the tape that was smuggled out and finally reached the Western world.

After this, they came to be popularly known as the singing nuns.

The Tibetan government in exile had earlier confirmed their escape from Tibet into Nepal.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet along with thousands of his followers in 1959 and the trickle of refugees into India has been constant since then, mostly through Nepal.

However, the Tibetan government in exile, based in Dharamsala, is not recognised by any country.

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