Kalmykia in Russia has an Indian connection. And the place hit the headlines in the sports arena for the chess matches. Kalmykia is believed to be the settlement of the descendants of Genghis Khan. But what has amazed many is how it survived as a Buddhist state. More than 50 per cent of the nearly three-lakh population is Buddhist. And this despite the fact that they have suffered some of the most cruel treatment. Catherine the Great abolished them. The Bolsheviks butchered them and the Nazis invaded them. The Buddhists were exiled by Stalin and returned only in 1957, after Krushchev allowed them to. Here comes the Indian connection. A young boy Erdne Ombadykow from Kalmykia was sent to India. The Dalai Lama spotted him in 1979 and identified him as the reincarnation of Tilopa, a Buddhist saint. Now named Telo Rinpoche, he visited Kalmykia in 1992 and has since become its spiritual leader. The Chairman of the World Chess Federation N. Ilymzhinov is the President of Kalmykia. A deeply religious person, he says he is working towards giving an extrasensory field around his republic.