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Shanghai temple moves 2,000-tonne hall

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The main hall and statues of a century-old Buddhist temple in central Shanghai have been moved 30 metres (100 feet) on rails to ease crowding at the popular site. As many as 100,000 people visit the Jade Buddha Temple every day and Chinese authorities were concerned about overcrowding and the fire risk created by visitors burning incense.

The solution is to delicately place the 2,000-tonne Mahavira Hall on specially-constructed rails and move it slightly northwards to create more space in adjacent areas. The job, which involved elevating the building by a metre, was completed on Sunday after just two weeks of works.

The temple complex was established at a different location in Shanghai in 1882 and moved to its current home in 1918, with the hall built some time between 1918 and 1928. Buddhist statues and relics in the hall were wrapped up for protection and moved with it, the People’s Daily newspaper said.

Workers initially pumped cement into the foundations of the hall to strengthen them, before embarking on the big move part of a wider project started in July 2014 to alleviate “severe fire safety and public security concerns”, the temple said.

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