Staff Reporter

A Bhutanese temple, a tribute marking the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Bhutan and India, in Rajgir, Bihar is close to completion.

The Consul General of Bhutanese Consulate General of Kolkata attended the sertog (golden pinnacle) installation ceremony performed by the monks led by the head lam of Bhutanese monastery in Bodhgaya yesterday.

The government initiated the Bhutanese Temple Complex Construction Project in Rajgir, Bihar in 2019.

Construct Project Direct Kinley Gyeltshen said that His Holiness the Je Khenpo blessed the project site after the Menlam Chhenmo in November 2018.

“This construction project signifies a deep connection between the two nations, with its deliberate commemoration of the diplomatic milestone highlighting the significance and reverence attached to the temple complex,” Kinley Gyeltshen said.

He said that the temple complex serves as a physical manifestation of the enduring friendship and shared cultural values between Bhutan and India and a testament to the strong bond between the two nations.

Despite facing challenges posed by the global Covid-19 pandemic, Kinley Gyeltshen said that the commitment to the symbolic project remained steadfast.

The construction was temporarily suspended from 2020 to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown in India. “However, construction resumed in March 2022, and by August 2023, the lhakhang construction was completed in all aspects, except for the ongoing fabrication and installation of statues,” the project director said.

At the heart of the temple complex are the main statues, featuring Toenpa, Guru, and Zhabdrung (Choelutruelsum), creating a spiritual space enough to accommodate up to 100 monks. The project cost exceeded Nu 40 million.

“This is an investment not only in physical structures but also in the shared cultural and spiritual heritage of Bhutan and India,” Kinley Gyeltshen said.

The construction of the monks’ residence and additional public facilities would provide a holistic space that extends beyond the spiritual, creating a hub for community and cultural exchange.

The entire project is expected to be completed by December 2024.