A major renovation on Jokhang Temple, one of the most sacred and important temples in the Tibet Autonomous Region, has officially come to a conclusion. The project, completed on Wednesday, is the biggest renovation in the temple’s 1300-year history in terms of scale and technical complexity.
The renovation project was launched in July of 2009. The central government set aside a special fund of 18 million yuan, or about 2.6 million US dollars for the restoration. The aim is to prevent leaks in the main halls, keep the wood from rotting, and improve the washrooms and fireproofing.
Renovations of the walls, floors, and sewage system in the temple have been completed. The new drainage system and granite exterior floor have prevented rainwater from flooding the space between the buildings.
Liu Shizhong, deputy director of Tibet Bureau of Cultural Heritage, said, “The renovation of Johkang Temple is one of the 22 cultural heritage protection projects in Tibet, initiated by the central government in its 11th five-year plan. Now over 70 percent of the projects have been completed.”
The temple of Jokhang, which means “House of the Buddha” sits on Barkhor Square in the old section of Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
The architectural style of the four-story building is a mixture of Indian vihara design, Chinese Tang Dynasty design and Nepalese design.
The temple was first constructed by King Songtsan Gampo probably in 642. According to tradition, the temple was built for the two brides of the king, Princess Wencheng of China’s Tang Dynasty and Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal. Both wives are said to have brought important Buddhist statues and images from Tang court and Nepal to Tibet as part of their dowries and they were housed here.