Cambodia lodges protest with India over Angkor Wat replica

  • None, Bangkok
  • Updated: Jun 07, 2015 21:23 IST

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 heritage of the 12th century Hindu temple which is also a world heritage site.

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, 120km 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 wide in a 161 acre site. Its sanctum sanctoram will be 405 feet in height, according to details available on the Trust's website. The main hall will have a seating capacity of 20,000.

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 on Saturday.

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". Cambodia also sought assurances that the planned construction will not be carried out.

Located in northwest Cambodia's Siem Reap province, Angkor Wat Temple was added to the UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1992. It 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 2015, raising $24.1 million from ticket sales.

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