Dharamsala, Jan. 26 – A two-storeyed staff quarters' building of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives here caught fire around 2PM today. One person was killed in the tragic incident. The deceased was Ven. Sangay Yeshi, former master of thangka painting (scroll art) at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. The library is located in the premises of Ghangchen Kyishong, the headquarters of the exile Tibetan government.
In a quick succession of events, two blasting sounds were heard while the building was still on fire. Witnesses say the blasts were of two cooking cylinders. However, the fire did not spread to the lower storey of the building.
The firefighters soon arrived on the scene and started extinguishing the blaze. Due to steep height of the building from ground level, the water pressure was inadequate to bring the fire under control. However, the fire was brought under control in about 3 hours.
Exile Tibetan Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche and minister for security Ngodup Donchung visited the site immediately.
Also present at the fire site were Indian officials from the local district administration including the Superintendent of Police, Kangra, and District Commissioner.
Ven. Sangay Yeshi was 86 and one of the last masters of traditional thangka painting in the exile Tibetan community.
The LTWA earlier gave courses in Tibetan thangka painting but the course was discontinued a few years ago. A few students of Ven. Sangay had started a small thangka school in Dharamsala under his guidance and support.
The LTWA is the official National Library, Museum and Archive. The library is now a repository for significant collections of artifacts, manuscripts and other records, while also serving as a centre for language and cultural education.