Jade Buddha Temple with Mahavira Hall in the middle.
The main pavilion of Shanghai's Jade Buddha Temple will be shifted 30 meters northward on Saturday.
Mahavira Hall, built in 1918, will be moved along with three huge Buddhist statues and other cultural heritages inside, said the city's major construction company yesterday.
Shanghai Construction No. 4 Group added never before has such an operation been attempted with a temple in China.
The moving project along with other renovations are aimed at creating more room for worshippers and to address fire and other safety concerns at the popular historic temple in Anyuan Road.
The project is expected to be completed in two weeks when some 500 square meters of space will be released in the main square, doubling its current size, for worshipers and visitors to pray, said Shen Junqi, the project manager. Other pavilions and halls will remain open during the project.
The temple's main square area is only 495 square meters and is often packed out, especially during the Spring Festival and the first and 15th day of each lunar month. Safety concerns caused by tightly packed crowds will be addressed by the extra space, Shen said.
The cost of the moving operation hasn't been released. But Lu Xilin, a professor with Tongji University, said the relocation costs nearly half of that to demolish and rebuild the structure. It can also cut the schedule by roughly 70 percent.
The temple is among Shanghai's most popular attractions, with 1.5 million visitors a year, a third of them from abroad.
The renovation was launched by the temple in July 2014 after the city's housing quality watchdog highlighted safety concerns, and pointed out that many buildings across the city have been damaged by insects, warping the structures.