The Hindu temple at Kuensel Phodrang in Thimphu, which should have been completed in 2014, will be completed only by June 2018. The construction began in 2012.

Following a directive from the government, Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) has been building the temple since June 1. JAL volunteered to construct the temple with its own fund. After terminating the earlier contractor, JAL was given the work and to improve the architectural design of the temple since the earlier designs and constructions had some flaws.

Civil engineer and deputy general manager with JAL, Ajay Pant, said the work is in full swing and going on smoothly. The company will spend about Nu 40M for the construction.

“We had to dismantle almost all the old structures, both inside and outside, because of poorly designed structures and quality,” Ajay Pant said. “We had to remove materials, including all the statues, which were made of fiberglass and metal.”

Ajay Pant said that although the structure would remain the same, its finishing will be improved.

“When we looked at the temple, there was no feeling of a temple, which any Hindu should get while entering a temple,” he said. “We had to remove about two pillars because the temple looked very congested. We have a completely new design based on the same structure.”

Ajay Pant said statues of god or goddesses in the Hindu temples should be carved on the stone. The plan now is to bring statues from Chennai, India, including other materials related to the temple.

The temple’s main statue will be Durga.

The temple with a main shrine, a prabhachan (prayer hall) and library will be the place of Durga puja celebration.

According to the sources, the construction was delayed because of the disagreement among Hindu Dharma Samudaya of Bhutan (HDSB) members. Other factors such as delay in the tender awarding process, import of some raw materials, delay in budget release and complaints of poor quality construction and statues also led to the project’s delay.

The HDSB’s project manager, J.N Sharma, said HDSB had already constructed the main block, living quarters for the priest and caretaker, toilets and bought about 10 fiberglass statues. “We may have to use all these statues in other temples.”

The government had allocated Nu 65M for the construction of the temple. Once completed, JAL will hand over the temple to the HDSB.

Yangchen C Rinzin