Chinese officials rule out arson at Tibet's renowned Jokhang Monastery fire on Saturday after investigation

Beijing: Chinese officials have ruled out any human factor after preliminary investigation into the fire that broke out at Tibet's most sacred Buddhist temple Jokhang Monastery, which is included on UNESCO's World Heritage list.

No casualties were reported in the fire that broke out on the second floor of the rear part of the Jokhang temple in Lhasa, provincial capital of Tibet, on Saturday evening.

An area of about 50 square metres was burned in the blaze before it could be doused, according to local government.
A life-sized statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha when he was 12 years old was intact, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported late Wednesday night.


Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Video footage of fires leaping into the sky had sparked concerns about the damage among public. The golden top has been removed in case of collapse or re-burning and protective supports and clapboards have been erected around the statue, the report said.

The regional cultural relics bureau said all the registered 6,510 artefacts and the main building were intact. The fire broke out in the ventilating chamber, which was built in late 1980s. No cultural relics were stored inside the chamber.

The temple opened to the public as usual one day after the fire, the report said. The local government has ordered a citywide inspection to eliminate fire hazards in major temples.

Jokhang Temple is renowned in Tibetan Buddhism. It has a history of more than 1,300 years and houses many cultural treasures. It also known as the Qoikang Monastery and regarded by the Tibetans as the most sacred and important temple in Tibet.

The temple's architectural style is a mixture of Indian vihara design, Tibetan and Nepalese design. It has a history of more than 1,300 years and houses many cultural treasures, including a life-sized statue of Sakyamuni Gautam Buddha when he was 12.

The temple attracts hundreds of devotees from Tibet and other parts of China and the world.

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Updated Date: Feb 22, 2018 14:10:39 IST