The inner sanctum remains unaffected

A fire has blazed through Lhasa’s Jokhang Temple , with the flames licking the gilded roof. It is also reported that the fire was swiftly brought under control. As per existing reports, the health of the population was not affected by the fire. The exiled Tibetan Government said that the main chapel, a 1,300-year-old structure, was unaffected. The central part of the Jokhang Chapel has a number of Tibetan artifacts of high cultural value. One of them is Jowo Sakyamuni, a statue built into the life size of Buddha when the latter was 12-years-old.

Jokhang Temple is one the most important and sacred sites in Tibet. The temple witnesses many Buddhist pilgrims prostrating in front, a tradition which began in the seventh century.

Chinese social media showed the roof engulfed by large flames. The blaze happened when most Tibetans were busy celebrating Losar, the Tibetan festival celebrating the new year. Festivities began February 16. The cause of this fire remains to be ascertained.

Chinese authorities already imposed a censorship on the news. News of the fire and related to it online are being scrubbed by Beijing. This is as Tibet's political status continues to be a sensitive issue. Travelers to the region face extreme bureaucratic hurdles. News concerning the region is frequently subjected to censorship.

Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay of the Tibetan government-in-exile expressed relief that the fire did not spread to the Jokhang chapel. He is presently in Japan visiting the country. He, however, urged Tibetans who continued to live in Tibet to be alert during big public gatherings. This precaution must be followed especially during occasions like Losar. He said that it is compulsory to put in sufficient safety measures at holy places like Jokhang. The Tibetan minister for culture and also religion, Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok, said that he cannot comment much as he still has to get reasons as to how the fire started, the government-in-exile minister said that it is disturbing for him to see any number of tragic accidents which take place near the Jokhang temple premises.

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