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Fire at Tibet’s Jokhang Monastery; No Injuries Reported

The Jokhang Temple in Lhasa is seen in this June 2009 photo.

A large fire broke out Saturday at Lhasa’s Jokhang monastery, one of the most sacred sites for Tibetan Buddhism.

No casualties were reported, and the extent of the damage to the 1,300-year-old religious temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, remains unclear.

According to the state-run Tibetan Daily, the fire, which began at 6:40 p.m., was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

News of major incidents in Tibet, a restive and politically sensitive region, is often tightly controlled in China.

Some state media outlets showed pictures of large flames on rooftops in the monastery that were visible from hundreds of meters away.

Jokhang contains numerous sculptures and religious paintings in a vast complex covering more than 6 acres.

The blaze comes as many Tibetans are celebrating Losar, the New Year festival that began Friday.