Dharma Bhakti Temple to be rebuilt soon
Dewanti A. Wardhani
The Jakarta Post
The management of the iconic Dharma Bhakti Buddhist temple located in Glodok, West Jakarta, is set to rebuild the temple this year following a fire last March in which the temple burned down.
Dharma Bhakti Foundation chairman Tan Adipranata said the renovations would commence on Jan. 18 and would be fully funded by the temple's regular worshippers. The foundation also manages the temple.
'We will renovate the temple soon. We have also asked the Jakarta administration to ease all administrative processes for us,' Tan told reporters after a meeting with Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama at City Hall on Tuesday.
The 365-year-old Dharma Bhakti Temple burned down in March last year. The fire, which left the temple in ruins, was believed to have been caused by a piece of tarpaulin hanging near candles that caught alight and then spread throughout the main building.
No casualties were reported in the incident, but around 40 sculptures, many of great antiquity, were destroyed.
The city's official website jakarta.go.id states that the original temple was built in 1650 under the name of the Guo Xun Guan Temple to honor Buddhist priest Guan Yin. Its name was changed to the Jin De Yuan Temple, which means good fortune, in 1755. The temple was renovated in 1890 but kept its main design and sculptures.
The temple, which was the busiest in Jakarta, had been gearing up to celebrate Cap Go Meh last year, a ceremony observed 15 days after the Chinese New Year.
After the temple burned down, Tan said worshippers continued to pray at a clinic located inside the temple complex.
He added that the Dharma Bhakti Foundation's visit to City Hall aimed to ensure that the temple was safe from any future demolition plans. It was previously reported that part of the temple complex was to be demolished by the city administration to make way for road expansion plans.
'The temple is not only a place of worship but also of cultural heritage. We asked the city administration to keep it safe,' Tan said.
Before the incident, the temple was typically crowded on the eve of Chinese New Year, with celebrations open to the public.
Separately, Ahok confirmed that the temple would not be affected by road expansion plans set to take place along Jl. Kemenangan, on which the temple is located. He said such buildings were protected under Gubernatorial Decree No. 11/1972 on cultural heritage buildings.
'The building is a piece of cultural heritage so it is protected according to the gubernatorial decree. We will provide them with all the documents they need to start rebuilding the temple,' Ahok told reporters on Tuesday.
Ahok further said that the city administration would not provide financial support for the Dharma Bhakti Foundation to rebuild the temple, but assured that it would fully support the reconstruction.
'We will not provide financial support. They did not ask for it and they do not need it. I'm sure they have collected many donations,' Ahok said.
Further, One-Stop Integrated Services Agency (BPTSP) head Edy Junaedi guaranteed that the city administration would ease and speed up permit documents for the Dharma Bhakti Temple reconstruction.
'We will help them as best we can to issue the documents quickly,' Edy said via text message.
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