A project to move part of Shanghai’s Jade Buddha Temple was successfully completed Saturday morning.
Mahavira Hall, built around 1918, was shifted 30.66 meters to the north along with the three huge Buddhist statues and other cultural heritage inside the hall.
After reaching its new position, the 18.2m-tall pavilion, weighing over 1,000 tons, was raised by just over a meter.
The temple’s abbot Jue Xing pushed a button to elevate the pavilion for the final 10 millimeters, marking the completion of the challenging project. A total of 20,000 bricks, donated by worshipers, have been laid beneath the pavilion.
To mark its historic move, the temple then officially unveiled a new pavilion of the Ksitigarbha — one of Mahayana Buddhism’s four main bodhisattvas.
Thousands worshipers and monks prayed together on the completion of the project as well as the new pavilion’s unveiling.
The project has released some 500 square meters of space in the main square, doubling its size, for worshipers and visitors to pray.
Previously, the main square in front of the pavilion was just 495 square meters and was often packed, especially during the Spring Festival and significant days like the first and 15th day of each lunar month.
Safety concerns caused by tightly packed crowds will be addressed by the extra space, according to the temple.
A renovation project was launched by the temple in July 2014 after the city’s housing quality watchdog highlighted safety concerns, and pointed out that many buildings across the city have been damaged by insects, warping their structure. The main pavilion was sealed in May to prepare for the moving project.
The cost of the operation hasn’t been released, but experts have said relocation would cost almost half of that needed to demolish and rebuild the structure. It can also cut the schedule by roughly 70 percent.
The temple, built in 1882, is one of Shanghai’s most popular attractions, attracting 2 million visitors a year, a third of them from abroad.