LHASA, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Workers have completed half of a 12-century-old Tibetan Buddhism monastery renovation project, the first of its kind in Tibet.
Renovation of the Sanyai Monastery, about 200 kilometers southeast of Lhasa, will cost 76.97 million yuan (12.72 million U.S. dollars) and take about five years, according to the temple's administrative committee.
The project involves reinforcement of its 12 buildings, improvement of fire and flood control systems and maintenance of sewage treatment facilities. It is expected to be completed in two years.
The monastery remains open to pilgrims and tourists during the renovation.
Built in the late 770s in Zhanang County of Shannan Prefecture, the monastery features a blend of traditional Tibetan, Chinese and Indian architecture.
The first floor of its main hall is Tibetan in style. Its second floor is a traditional Chinese quadrangle with houses on four sides with an Indian pagoda-like top.
As one of Tibet's biggest heritage renovation projects under the 11th Five Year Plan (2006-2010), work began in September 2010.
China launched a 570-million-yuan (94.21 million U.S. dollars) project in 2008 to preserve 22 historical and cultural heritage sites in Tibet, including the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery, the Jokhang, Ramogia and Samgya-Goutog monasteries.
The move came after a 330-million-yuan preservation project on the Potala Palace, Sagya Monastery and Norbu Lingka Palace.