Cambodia lodges protest with India over Angkor Wat replica
Bangkok: Cambodia has lodged a protest to India over a private trust's plans to build an Angkor Wat replica in Bihar, saying it “seriously violates” the 12th century Hindu temple and a world heritage property which holds exceptional and universal value.
The protest comes after Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation received a report about Patna-based Mahavir Mandir Trust's plans to construct a replica of the largest Hindu temple in the world.
The preparation for the Trust's “dream” project, some 120 kms from Patna, to build the largest Hindu temple for Lord Rama has already been made with a design very similar to the Angkor Wat.
The ‘Viraat Ramayan Mandir' will be 2,800 feet in length and 1,400 feet in width and its sanctum sanctoram shall be 405 feet in height, according to details available on the Trust's website.
The site is spread over a sprawling area of 161 acres and the hall will have a seating capacity for 20,000 devotees at a time.
Cambodia “considers that this copy of Angkor Wat Temple for commercial benefit seriously violates the World heritage which is of a universal and exceptional value of humanity”, the Ministry said in its protest note to the Indian External Affairs Ministry.
“Moreover, the Angkor Wat Temple is the emblem that has been used in the Cambodian national flag for many centuries,” added the statement, issued yesterday.
The country requested India to “seriously” and “urgently” consider the planned construction of the replica “in order to nurture the traditional historical relations between the two countries and peoples” and sought assurances that the planned construction will not be carried out.
Located in northwest Cambodia's Siem Reap province, Angkor Wat Temple, inscribed in the UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1992, is the country's most popular tourist destination.
According to latest government figures, the 12th century site attracted 842,719 foreign tourists in the first four months of this year, earning USD 24.1 million from ticket sales.