Centuries-old Gorkha monastery in flames

http://www.ekantipur.com
SUDIP KAINI

GORKHA, FEB 18 – Laprang Gumba, a 700-year-old Buddhist monastery at Samagaun VDC in Gorkha , was destroyed in a massive fire on Monday evening. Authorities said ancient manuscripts, Buddha idols, silver coins and other valuables worth around Rs 150 million were lost in the fire.

The monastery is situated in one of the most remote parts of Gorkha , some 166 kilometres from the district headquarters.

Police suspected that the fire may have started after an oil lamp keeled over, causing its flame to catch other objects inside the monastery. The fire was contained only on Tuesday morning.

Chok Bahadur Kunwar, a police constable stationed at Samagaun VDC, said it took them almost four hours to reach the site. Snowfall measuring as much as three feet high made the situation worse, he added. Deputy Superintendent of Police Ramesh Thapa said they were trying to gather more information to assess the damage caused by the fire.

Meanwhile, Ram Bahadur Kunwar, spokesperson and archaeologist with the Department of Archaeology, said they plan to send a team to the village to investigate the case.

Kunwar said there are some ancient archaeological sites, including Buddhists monasteries, that have been listed by department for conservation.

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