Rare Buddhist relics gutted in Himachal monastery fire

IANS, February 25, 2008

Shimla, India -- Centuries old Buddhist ‘thanka’ paintings and rare scriptures have been destroyed in a fire in Himachal Pradesh’s remote Lahaul valley, the police said Monday.

Sacrificial fires lit by monks due to special ongoing prayers went out of control Sunday at the Paldan Padama Holding monastery in Kwaring village on the Manali-Leh highway, 425 km from here, the police said.

“It took nearly seven hours to douse the flames but by then the centuries-old ‘thanka’ paintings and ‘pothi’ or Buddhist scriptures which had been brought from Tibet were reduced to ashes,” Prakash Chand, a police official at the site, said.

“The third storey of the monastery has been completely destroyed,” Chand said.