Larung Gar: Destruction and Construction At Once
Location: Paris
Nationality: Chinese
Biography: Luo Jian is a Chinese documentary photographer based in Paris and Beijing. After working 10 years as a photojournalist in the Chinese press industry, he decided to move to France where he began a new photography journey. His work focuses on the... read on
Public Story
Larung Gar: Destruction and Construction At Once
Credits: jian luo
Updated: 02/25/21
Larung Gar is known to be the largest Tibetan Buddhist institute in the world. The institute founded in 1980, home to thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns, lies on the side of a mountain in Sertar County in Eastern Tibet. Since summer 2016, Larung Gar has attracted a great deal of worldwide attention because of the large-scale demolition project issued by the Chinese government, thus becoming a no-go area for all foreigners. The goals behind the destruction of this site are the reduction of the number of residents and the transformation of this influential Buddhist Institute into a touristic destination. 

International debate has moderated the brutal demolition, but the renovation of the institute continues: the city center is occupied by a new high-end hotel; the houses connecting to the mountains are divided by large fire resistant staircases; the roads are rebuilt and the tourist facilities are perfected ... the entire urbanization of the institute transforms religion into a trump of tourism.

Meanwhile, monks and nuns are getting used to living in the middle of bulldozers and debris. Because of the rustic living conditions, housing repairs often occupy all their weekends: reinforcements, paintings, shopping for building materials ... They simply hope to have a relatively comfortable shelter to practice asceticism.


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