Tibetan monastery seriously damaged by fire

tibet-damaged-statue-lithang-monastery-nov-2013-400.jpg

Damaged altar image

The main hall of Lithang Monastery in China’s Sichuan Province was ravaged in a fire on Saturday. The Tibetan monastery, founded in 1580 by the Third Dalai Lama, was the site of a pivotal standoff between the People’s Liberation Army and the Tibetan resistance movement in 1956; in that confrontation, airstrikes damaged the buildings and killed many of the monks and laypeople barricaded inside.

The fire was extinguished before it could spread to other structures. However, the prayer hall was burned to rubble, and though many cultural artifacts were saved, the main statues were seriously burned. The fire is believed to have been started by an electrical short circuit.

Read the New York Times story for more information and to see photos of the damage.

Photo: Radio Free Asia listener