Asia’s tallest wooden pagoda has burnt to the ground when a huge fire engulfed the building.
The 16-storey high historic Lingguan Tower in China was completely destroyed by the flames which burned for about four hours on December 10.
Two other buildings in the Nine Dragons Monastery were also reduced to rubble after a fire reportedly started from a hall underneath the world-famous main tower.
Situated in Mianzhu city in the Sichuan Province, the Buddhist temple was caught in the blaze which started at around 12.40pm as high winds pushed the flames towards the pagoda as well as the Hall of Arhan and the main hall which were also destroyed.
The three buildings that were burnt down occupied an area of no more than 800 square metres.
According to local news outlet The People’s Daily Online, there were no casualties during the four hour long blaze.
Forces were quickly brought together to tackle the flames with the fire being completely extinguished by 4.30pm.
The People’s Daily Online said the mission was a huge undertaking writing:
After the fire, Deyang municipal party committee and municipal government leaders gave instructions the first time to go all out to do a good job with the emergency rescue and follow-up disposal.
The Mianzhu municipal party committee and municipal government met to quickly organise forces rushed to the scene to carry out personnel evacuation, fire fighting and rescue work.
Monks could be seen kneeling in prayer by the tower as they watched their beloved spiritual building be set alight by the fire.
Currently an investigation is underway to prevent a follow-up accident and conclude what exactly caused the blaze.
At the time of the fire the pagoda was still under construction after it had been badly damaged during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Although much of it has been restored, there was still work being carried out on the tower that was first constructed during the ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644 AD) during the reign of Chongzhen Emperor.
Known for being the tallest structure of its kind in Asia, it was a popular destination for both tourists and Buddhists.