By Tenzin Dharpo
Construction underway for the maiden elevator at Tsuglakhang temple in Dharamshala. October 2, 2019. Phayul photo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 2: The Thekchen Choeling Tsuglakhang known commonly as the Dalai Lama’s temple here in the seat of the exile Tibetan diaspora is set to get its first elevator after decades since its inception.
The construction work for the maiden elevator is underway at the left corner of three-floor complex and is expected to be finished by the end of the 2019 winter. The structural work will be finished in the next 15 days according to the site foreman Deenu.
He told Phayul that the project is overseen by the well known local contractor Puran. The Indian contractor is behind many projects of the Central Tibetan Administration like the multi-crore rupees Tibet building and the brand new auditorium of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts among others.
Deenu further told phayul that a budget of 7 lakh INR is sanctioned for the project excluding the elevator equipment and that there are talks for a second elevator at the right side of the complex.
There is speculation that the project is sanctioned specifically to assist the aging Tibetan leader to avoid the thirty odd stairs leading to the main hall on the first floor of the temple where he oversees teachings. Tibetan legislators have also called for elevators in the temple complex for the Dalai Lama in the recent sessions of the Tibetan parliament.
The main temple complex built on a hillock which houses the statues of the Buddha, Avaloketishewara, Padmasambhava, Kalachakra deity and the green Tara among others is a bustling tourist attraction as it is the central structure in McLeod Ganj for spiritual seekers and followers of the foremost Buddhist leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The temple complex known for it simplistic architecture was built in the year 1969 by the Dalai Lama near his residence, less than 100 meters away. The complex has seen gradual development over the years. The complex has also hosted the first ever Kalachakra teaching, one the most sacred Buddhist teaching in exile, in March 1970. Official records say that 30,000 people attended the proceedings.