The prayer hall after the fire/RFA photo
November 18 - A fire that broke out on Saturday night at Ganden Thubchen Choekhorling monastery in Lithang destroyed the monastery's main prayer hall (dukhang), according to sources.
Dukhang or the prayer hall of a monastery is where monks gather for prayers and offerings. It is also used for debate sessions. It usually houses the main statues and scroll art paintings of the monastery.
Charred statue of Maitreya Buddha inside the prayer hall/Photo RFA
The 433 year old monastery is one of the most famous and oldest Buddhist monasteries in the region. It was founded by the third Dalai Lama Sonam Gyatso in 1580.
A exact cause of the fire is not known. However, short circuit is speculated as being the cause of the fire.
A source told the US Congress funded RFA
that both Tibetan and Han Chinese residents of the area made concerted efforts to put out the fire but were unable to do so.
Though no life has been lost in the fire, two monks have been injured, according to a source.
Though the exact damage to property is not known a source told RFA that there has been massive damage to the prayer hall and precious artifacts.
Metal statues inside the prayer hall have been charred and defaced by the fire.