The Dontson Monastery has bid farewell to decades of isolation.
Young monks, including Jigme Tongdrup, have moved from makeshift tents to the rebuilt Sakyapa monastery in the quake-hit Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwest China's Qinghai Province.
As part of the ongoing construction project, amid 5,000-meter-high mountains surrounding it, the days of drilling frozen rivers for water have ended thanks to newly installed pipelines. The government-funded project means tap water, electricity, roads and communications services are available for 87 monasteries, including Dontson, which was damaged by the deadly earthquake that struck Yushu in April 2010. The 7.1-magnitude quake claimed 2,698 lives and injured more than 12,000.
"Watching the 500-year-old sutra hall and monks' apartments become dilapidated overnight, I felt overwhelmed by grief," according to the director of Dontson's Management Committee, who goes by Dechen. The 42-year-old, at times, felt he would not see the monastery re-established because of a lack of money.
Dontson, like other area monasteries, used to be financed by residents. A government policy has made monasteries financially independent.
Dechen said he was surprised when the government said it would spend 990 million yuan (US$159 million) in renovating the damaged monasteries and housing the homeless after the earthquake.