Temple in Bihar not ‘exact replica’ of Angkor Wat

Patna, Aug 14 (IANS) Bihar’s richest temple trust on Friday said the proposed world’s largest Hindu temple in East Champaran district was not an “exact replica” of any temple in the world.

Patna-based Mahavir Mandir Trust’s clarification came after Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong requested the Indian government to ask it to abandon its plan to build a near replica of Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat temple.

“Our proposed world’s largest Hindu temple – Virat Ramayan Mandir – in East Champaran district is not an exact replica of any temple in the world. It is certainly not a replica of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple,” said Acharya Kishore Kunal, the secretary of the trust.

Angkor Wat temple is Cambodia’s national symbol.

In a reply to Cambodia’s objection, Kunal, a retired IPS officer, said: “We are not replicating Angkor Wat, rather we are following the design of our own temples as well as various others. Even Angkor Wat design substantially resembles Jain temples at Sonagiri in Bundelkhand.”

Kunal has also written to the union culture ministry in this connection.

“The proposed temple at Kesaria incorporates certain excellent architectural features if 15 temples located in six different countries including Cambodia’s Angkor Wat.

“Only the spires of the temple resemble the towers of Angkor Wat, though such spires can be seen in many Indian existing and ancient temples. Even Patna’s Mahavir Mandir has similar spires.

“The architectural design of Mahavir Mandir and Amawa Ram Mandir at Ayodhya also resemble Angkor Wat,” he said.

He also informed the ministry that the trust’s plan to start construction of the temple was delayed due to questions raised by the Cambodian government in May.

“It is our sheer respect for the Cambodian people that we have not started construction of the temple, though it is our fundamental right enshrined in article 26 of the Indian Constitution.”

Kunal said apprehensions of the Cambodian government and people was misplaced as “architectural and sculptural marvel of Angkor Wat is unparalleled and no human creation, even with unlimited resources and skill can match it”.

Mumbai-based Valecha Construction Company will build the temple, which will be 2,500 feet long, 1,296 feet wide and 379 feet high. It will cost over Rs.500 crore.

He said the temple was to be named “Virat Angkor Wat Ram Mandir”, but later its name was changed following objections by the people in Cambodia.

Angkor Wat, a Unesco World Heritage, was built during King Suryavarman’s rule.

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