Galina Yavanova, About the Bogdakhin Temple
Galina talks about the Bogdakhin Temple, including who built it and how it is maintained. This is her story: When Buddhism started to revive in Kalmykia, in Elista (the capital of Kalmykia) people built a small temple on Lermontov street. We in Khar-Buluk also decided to build a temple. We were given a place for this – the kitchen of a former school. We cleaned, whitewashed the place, and put it into order. People who participated in the building of the temple are our village folk (including Ochir Boldyrev, Galina Khakhlinova, Lidia Sarangova, Lidia Buvaeva, Nogan Shikeeva), the village director (Aleksei Shikeev) and the director of the local children’s food factory (Aleksandr Boldyrev). Aleksei Shikeev invited a construction brigade to the village. Ochir Boldyrev invited the lama Sandzhi Ulanov and another lama from Volodarovskiy who performed a ritual. We were so happy, because before we all had to pray at home. So, when the two lamas started to perform rituals, people from nearby villages and towns began to travel to our village. After a temple was built in Arshan (Elista), lamas from India started to come to Kalmykia. When Bogdo Gegyan visited our Republic for the first time, we invited him to our village. Many people gathered during his visit. After a prayer Bogdo Gegyan said to us: ‘A time will come when your small temple will grow and strengthen’. Back then we were thinking to ourselves: ‘How could this be? We do not even have money (to do this)’. Ochir Boldyrev asked the architect Vladimir Gilyandikov to draw a project for our new temple. After each prayer Ochir Boldyrev showed the project to the pious asking them to donate. A woman originally from our village called Natalya Mueva donated slate worth 300 thousand Rubles. In January 2004 during his visit to our village, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (President of Kalmykia) familiarized himself with our project and talked to the businessman Sergei Dzhirgalov. This was on Saturday. On Monday Sergei Dzhirgalov came to see us and said that the temple would be refurbished. On 14 May we opened our new temple. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov invited the Shajin Lama for this occasion. It was such a big holiday. The words of Bogdo Gegyan turned out to be true. People from our village (including Nogan Shikeeva, Lidia Buvaeva, Tsagan Erdeeva) came to the temple on a daily basis, despite the weather, to light candles and look after the order. In our temple, we have a precious statue of Panchen Lama. That is why our grandmothers came to the temple every day to look after it, although we told them that they did not have to come so often. Today they are old, and younger people have taken over their responsibilities. At this moment it is Namdzhil Erendzhenov and his spouse who look after the temple. Sergei Dzhirgalov planted many fruit bearing trees outside the temple that need watering. His sister helps us with money, and wants to build a water pipe. Dorzh Buvaev supplies the trees with water. Near the Single Poplar there are now many newly built stupas that require care. People who look after that place are Al’mira, Namdzhil, Lyudmila Sarangova. Pilgrims pour butter and Kalmyk tea at the Poplar which is not good for the tree, for it may deteriorate before its time. We want to appeal to all people to water the tree instead. Purdash bagsh (who planted this sacred tree) should be an example for all our people. He travelled to Tibet twice for the benefit of his people.