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Unique Buddhist temple rebuilt in Russia after burning down in 2014

August 11, 13:54 UTC+3 AGINSKOYE SETTLEMENT

Russia’s Ministry of Culture allocated around $1.6 man for the project

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© Ilya Barinov/TASS

AGINSKOYE SETTLEMENT /Transbaikalia region/. August 11. /TASS/. More than 130 Buddhist lamas from various Russian regions and Mongolia have conducted an hours-long dedication service in the Tsogchen-dugan, the main temple of the Aginsky Datsan, the largest Buddhist monastery in Russia’s Transbaikalia region. The temple has been rebuilt after it burned down in 2014.

According to the monastery’s head Badma Tsybikov, the service involved 135 clerics from various regions of Russia, as well as from Mongolia. The ceremony was led by Head of the Russian Buddhist Sangha (or community) Damba Ayusheysv, the Pandito Khambo Lama.

Tsybikov added that the main reconstruction work had been completed, but some work still needed to be done in the altar, where a big statue of Buddha is planned to be installed. The temple’s walls will also be painted with pictures within the next year. "But the dugan fully operates starting from today," he stressed.

According to the Lotos restoration company, after the fire, only the base and walls were left from the temple.

"Russia’s Ministry of Culture played the main part in financing the reconstruction work," said Bair Zhamsuyev, who represents the Transbaikalia region in the Federation Council (upper house of parliament). "In three years, the ministry allocated around 100 mln rubles ($1.6 mln) for this project in accordance with a federal target program. If not for that, there would have been no dedication service today," he added.

Besides, Zhamsuyev, applauded the residents of Transbaikalia and other Russian regions, who had donated as many as 21 mln rubles ($349,000) in three years.

Apart from Buddhist clerics, hundreds of believers participated in the dedication ceremony.

The celebration will continue on Saturday, when a concert and sporting competitions will take place.

Historical landmark of federal importance

The Buddhist temple built in the 19th century burned down on May 27, 2014, as a result of a short circuit. Monks and believers managed to remove books, the altar and relics from the burning temple, as well as the statue of Shakyamuni Buddha.

The Aginsky Datsan, a historical landmark of federal importance, is located seven kilometers away from the Aginskoye settlement. The monastery was founded in 1811, while its main temple was built in 1886. In the late 1930s, the authorities closed the monastery down, while a tuberculosis and a drug dispensary were moved into its main temple, which was only reopened in 2004.

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