As a campaign to include the Taj Mahal among the seven new wonders of the world gathers momentum, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has pitched for including the 12th century Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia in the category.
An article in the party mouthpiece Organizer said: "We should also undoubtedly join the campaign to enable this enduring symbol (Taj Mahal) of our country to make it to the top seven. But, equally significant, both for all Indians and Hindus across the globe is the presence of the world's largest Hindu temple, Angkor, among the 21 finalist candidates in the campaign to choose the new Seven Wonders of the World."
It appealed to the people to also vote for Angkor Wat saying, "So, if Taj deserves your vote, click the mouse for Angkor Wat too. It is as much ours as is the Taj".
The article goes to say, "Angkor not only reminds us of our ancient glory but also symbolises the deep impact Indian culture had across the globe, particularly Southeast Asia. After the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by Taliban in Afghanistan, Angkor remains the most potent symbol of the glory of Hindu culture outside of India."
India had helped to conserve the Angkor temple complex between 1986 and 1993 when no other country was willing to volunteer because of the political instability in Cambodia. During this period, the Indian government spent about Rs 30 million in carrying out renovation work.
The Angkor Wat, spread over 200 sq km, encompasses some 300 temples of varying styles and sizes. It is the largest archaeological site in the world and the scene of one of the most intensive restoration efforts.
It was built by King Suryavarman II between 1113 and 1150 AD and is seen as a masterpiece of Khmer architecture.
The shortlist of 21 for the new seven wonders of the world was chosen by a panel of world-renowned architects and former UNESCO Chief Federico Mayor in January 2006 out of 77 public nominations.
Amongst those in the list are the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Alhambra castle in Granada, Spain, the Acropolis in Greece, the Great Wall of China and the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.