Buddhist temple tests roofers’ mettle

Lance Maggart
Staff Photo |

Nestled up against the high peaks of the Sangre de Cristos in the shadow of Kit Carson Peak and just north of the Great Sand Dunes stands something you would expect to find on the other side of the world — a Buddhist temple.

The Sangdo Palri Temple is a new three story temple located just outside the town of Crestone. Construction of the new temple began in 2011. Exterior work on the building was completed in late 2014.

The temple provided an incredible opportunity for the Grand County construction firm The Roofing Company to showcase its craftsmanship. Workmen and metalsmiths from The Roofing Company spent a year and a half working on the intricate gold and copper roof system for the temple. Their work on the project garnered them the first place award for Outstanding Workmanship from the Colorado Roofing Association this month.

Nick Mentzer, who works for The Roofing Company and was a project coordinator on the Sangdo Palri Temple job, said The Roofing Company began its portion of the project in the summer of 2013. The final gutter piece was put up in November 2014.

The roof itself is a combination of gold- and copper-colored metal shingles on multiple gables of a three story Japanese pagoda-inspired temple. According to The Roofing Company’s submission to the Colorado Roofing Association, Sangdo Palri translates to “copper colored mountain.” Each shingle was manually bent and hand manufactured either on site or at The Roofing Company’s workshop in Granby. Each piece was manufactured for its own specific location within the pre-planned roofing system.

The worksite of the Sangdo Palri Temple is remote to say the least. The facility is accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicle and can be impossible to reach during the winter months. There was no running water on the job site and all power came from generators and solar panels. Cell phones were all but useless in the remote area that sits in the shadow of several 14-ers in the southern Rockies.

Additionally, working on a Buddhist Temple brought unique circumstances to the workmen of The Roofing Company who adhered to a practice known as “circumambulation,” whereby they moved around temple in a clockwise manner out of respect for Buddhist religious traditions.

The construction blog on the Sangdo Palri Temple’s website states, “Of the many architectural elements unique to the Sangdo Palri Temple project, the gold and copper colored metal roofing is perhaps the most significant. The roofing not only protects the building with outstanding durability, but its radiance will be visible for miles, making literal the vision of the Temple as a beacon of hope and awakening.”

Learn more about the Sangdo Palri Temple by visiting

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