Yabshi Takser, the historic building close to the Potala Palace in Lhasa once home to the parents of Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been demolished according to sources. The building was razed ahead of weeks of discussion of Lhasa protection at the annual meeting of the world’s leading heritage body, UNESCO from June 24.
“The former home of the parents of the Dalai Lama, one of the largest and most important of the few remaining historic buildings in Lhasa, has been demolished and a new concrete structure is being built in its place.” said the report by the International Campaign for Tibet on Monday.
The Yabshi Taktser residence appears to have been razed two months before Lhasa’s protection was discussed at an annual meeting of the world’s leading heritage body, UNESCO, beginning June 24.” it added.
According to ICT, the Yabshi Taktser residence was close to the Potala Palace, where the Dalai Lama lived until his escape from Tibet in 1959. It had a particular significance as the home of the late parents of the Dalai Lama. Over many years, the building was neglected and had fallen into a state of disrepair. Tibetans were afraid to recommend maintenance or renovation work because of the building’s association with the Dalai Lama, according to expert sources.
The ICT report refers to images posted online by the Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser depicting the site after the building was torn down, with diggers and heavy vehicles leveling the ground, and then showed concrete foundations being laid and new construction. Although the purpose of the new building is not known, such threats to Lhasa’s unique and precious remaining cultural heritage looms around.
Photo: An old photo of Yabshi Takser building taken from Potala Palace