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Dharamshala: - The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile expressed their condolences over the recent severe fire in Lithang County of Eastern Tibet, which has severely damaged one of the three historic Buddhist temples of the county.

"We express our heartfelt condolences and solidarity with the local Tibetans and especially the monks of Lithang monastery. We pray for the quick restoration of the monastery which serves as a great centre of learning for Tibetans," the Tibetan Parliament said in a condolence statement issued on November 21, 2013.

The flames engulfed the roof of the building on 16 November 2013 and severely damaged early printed books and statues. However, some of the cultural artifacts inside were saved, sources told The Tibet Post Ineternational (TPI News) the day after the incident.

According to the sources, the fire was extinguished before it could spread to the monastery's other prayer halls and living quarters.

The monastery consists of three main temples, one of which was reconstructed in 2011. Ganden Thubten Choekhorling or Lithang Gonchen was a home to many famous and influential figures in Tibetan Buddhism, such as the 7th Dalai Lama Kalsang Gyatso and the 10th Dalai Lama Tsultrim Gyatso.

Exiled Tibetan sources to TPI News say, Currently, there are over one thousand monks residing and studying at the monastery, including over 600 hundred students from the School of Buddhist Philosophy and nearly 200 monks from the Tantric College.

The town is located at an altitude of 4,014 metres. It is on open grassland and surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is about 400 meters higher than Lhasa, making it one of the highest towns in the world.

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