2018-02-17 15:27:31

A fire broke out on Saturday evening — just two days into the lunar new year — at the historic Jokhang Monastery in downtown Lhasa, the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, local media reported

The fire started at around 6:40 p.m. and has now been extinguished. The cause and extent of damage is still under investigation. No casualties have been reported.

Jokhang Monastery — also known as Dazhao Temple — is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. With a history of more than 1,300 years, it is considered the most sacred temple in Tibet as well as the “spiritual heart” of Lhasa, and a must-see destination for visitors to the region.

In 2018, as the new year fell on Feb. 16 in both the Tibetan Buddhist and Chinese agricultural calendars, Jokhang Monastery expected a surge in visitors and believers praying for the new year. According to state news agency Xinhua, the temple was closed to the public on Saturday.

Editor: Qian Jinghua.

(Header image: Exterior view of Jokhang Temple, Tibet. VCG)