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Travel lovers, take note. Tibet’s revered Jokhang temple opens after huge fire

The temple, considered to be the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism in the remote Himalayan region, attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists from home and abroad.

travel Updated: Feb 20, 2018 12:10 IST
Press Trust of India, Beijing
Travel,Travel lovers,Jokhang temple
Tourists on the roof of the Jokhang Temple in the regional capital Lhasa, in China's Tibet Autonomous Region. (AFP)

Jokhang Temple, one of Tibet’s holiest Buddhist temples which caught fire on Saturday, has been reopened amid official media reports today that the iconic monastery in Lhasa has not suffered much damage. The temple, considered to be the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism in the remote Himalayan region, attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists from home and abroad. An orderly crowd of pilgrims and tourists yesterday lined up to visit the temple, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The fire broke out at 6:40pm on Saturday and was soon put out. No casualties have been reported. There are no visible signs of fire except some water marks in the main hall of the monastery, the report said. The temple, renowned in Tibetan Buddhism, has a history of more than 1,300 years and houses many cultural treasures, including a life-sized statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha when he was 12-year-old.

The Barkhor, a bustling market street near the monastery, was reopened to the public after a temporary closure following the fire. The temple will remain closed from February 19 to 22, when its monks mark the New Year holiday. The Tibetan New Year was celebrated on Friday, coinciding with the Spring Festival this year.

Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported earlier that the fire had caused concerns about likely damage it might have caused. Internet users posted pictures and videos of the fire on social media, showing flames shooting high in the air. The extent of the damage was not immediately unknown, the Post report said. The oldest part of the temple was built more than 1,300 years ago and the whole structure was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2000 as part of the Potala Palace, the official home of successive Dalai Lamas.

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First Published: Feb 20, 2018 12:04 IST