Fire raised a lhakhang to the ground in Dungbi, Zhemgang, on the night of April 11. All relics, including the statues, could not be saved.

The lhakhang, named as Kibu Lungtsen lhakhang, was built 13 years ago by the Dungbi residents.

Eyewitnesses said that the fire started at 8:30pm.

Dzongkhag officials, dessups, police and the business community came together to contain the fire but could not.

“It was difficult for  people to contain it since it was in flames when we saw it,” a villager said.

Residents said police deployed the fire engine but could not save the lhakhang, as there was no water nearby to refill it.

Lhajay Tshering, 61, from Dungbi, said some eight households of Dungbi village built the lhakhang in 2004. “It is the abode of local deity (Kelha) Kebu Lungtsen,” he said. “Any children born in the locality should be brought to this lhakhang to take refuge in the deity.”

He said the lhakhang was also used to conduct annual religious programs in the village. “It is a big loss to the community.”

Lhajay Tshering said besides the statue of the local diety, the main relics of the lhakhang were the statues of Guru, Zhabdrung and Buddha.

Residents also said there were volumes of important religious texts, which were burnt as well.

The cause of the fire is unknown and the caretaker was said to be away when the incident occured.

Nima Wangdi | Bumthang