Jade Bud­dha Tem­ple’s Grand Hall to be moved

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 4 China - By XU JUNQIAN in Shang­hai xu­jun­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Grand Hall of Shang­hai’s Jade Bud­dha Tem­ple will be moved 31 me­ters north and raised 1 me­ter, mainly for se­cu­rity rea­sons, ac­cord­ing to the tem­ple’s re­lo­ca­tion team.

The re­lo­ca­tion — part of a ren­o­va­tion of the cen­tury-old tem­ple that has been go­ing on since 2014, and the big­gest change so far — will start on Satur­day morn­ing and is ex­pected to fin­ish within two weeks.

The tem­ple, built in 1882 and named for two jade Bud­dha stat­ues shipped from Myan­mar, has been one of the most pop­u­lar re­li­gious venues in Shang­hai, with more than 2 mil­lion vis­i­tors per year.

On spe­cial oc­ca­sions such as Chi­nese New Year’s Eve or Bud­dhist fes­ti­vals, vis­i­tors can top 100,000 per day, as peo­ple go to the tem­ple to burn in­cense and pray, leav­ing the all-wood struc­ture at risk of fire and crowd-re­lated prob­lems, in­clud­ing stam­pedes.

Af­ter the re­lo­ca­tion, the size of the open square in front of the Grand Hall, where most vis­i­tors gather to burn in­cense, will be dou­bled to al­most 1,000 square me­ters.

All the stat­ues and relics in­side 750-square-me­ter hall will re­main in place dur­ing the re­lo­ca­tion, which is unprecedented in China and stands out as the most chal­leng­ing task of the three-year ren­o­va­tion.

The con­struc­tion team has al­ready spent three months pre­par­ing for the re­lo­ca­tion, with much of the work be­ing car­ried out un­der­ground.

The orig­i­nal tem­ple, lo­cated on the out­skirts of Shang­hai, was de­stroyed by fire in 1919. A re­place­ment was built down­town.

Relics preser­va­tion experts from the Shang­hai Mu­seum are act­ing as con­sul­tants to help pro­tect the ar­ti­facts in­side. The ex­pe­ri­ence re­lo­cat­ing another Shang­hai ar­chi­tec­tural land­mark, the mu­sic hall, in 2003 has also been shared.

Steel frames will be set up around the stat­ues in­side the Grand Hall for pro­tec­tion dur­ing the move, and con­crete will be in­jected in the foun­da­tions for added strength. It is be­lieved that the hall will be more earth­quake-re­sis­tant af­ter the move be­cause of the new base.

Other ar­eas of the tem­ple will be open to the pub­lic as usual dur­ing the re­lo­ca­tion of the Grand Hall.

ZHU GANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

The Grand Hall of the Jade Bud­dha Tem­ple in Shang­hai is be­ing pre­pared for re­lo­ca­tion on Thurs­day. The hall will be moved 31 me­ters north and raised 1 me­ter.

CAO BOYUAN / FOR CHINA DAILY

An in­spec­tor from the Bei­jing Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion checks the con­di­tion of a Haidi­lao restau­rant’s kitchen in Bei­jing on Fri­day, soon af­ter a re­port that it was un­hy­gienic.

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