Massive renovations of temples bring TV to Jokhang

Updated: 2011-06-02 08:02

By Dachiong (China Daily)

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Massive renovations of temples bring TV to Jokhang

The rhythmic tamping sounds accompanying the singing by workers stop worshippers and tourists flocking to Sera Monastery's Great Meeting Hall in northern Lhasa, even as sounds of carpentry arise from another place nearby.

As the peak tourist season arrives in the highlands of the Tibet autonomous region's capital, at least 300 people are hard at work at several locations in the monastery every day, says Nyima Tsering, deputy director of the temple administration.

He points out that utmost care is being taken to protect the Buddhist statues, scriptures and precious wall paintings as the roof and courtyard of the hall are being fixed.

The government has set aside a special fund of 20 million yuan ($3.09 million) for the restoration, which will prevent leaks in the main halls, keep the wood from rotting and improve the washrooms and fi reproofing.

It is the biggest renovation in the temple's 600-year history in terms of scale and technical complexity.

Similar repairs are also being carried out in Drepung Monastery and Jokhang Temple.

Th e renovations of the walls, floors and sewage system in Jokhang have almost been completed. Th e new drainage system and granite exterior fl oors have prevented rainwater from flooding the space between buildings, according to Ngawang Donjo, chief director of the temple administration.

The temple is now equipped with a digital TV, telephone and Internet, giving monks better access to information.

Samphel, a herdsman from Nagqu county in northern Tibet, who visits every few years, says there is some discernible change every time and is glad rare cultural relics are receiving proper protection.

He also notes the temple is cleaner and has better foot traffi c now.

The State allocated more than 55 million yuan, besides a large amount of gold, silver and other materials, for the fi rst stage of repair of the Potala Palace, from 1989-94. Another 380 million yuan was poured in the second stage, from 2002 to 2009, the Potala Palace administration's former chief director Champa Kelsang says.

"Repairs on such a scale are rare in the nation's history and have even been recognized by UNESCO."

According to the Tibetan bureau of cultural heritage, more than 300 million yuan was invested in the repair of about 1,400 temples in Tibet during the 1970s and '80s.

Liu Xiangrui contributed to the story.

China Daily


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