Indian Angkor Wat temple copy suspended

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The duplicate Angkor Wat in India's Bihar state. Source: The Telegraph 20150914

Following a diplomatic protest by Cambodia lodged last year, India announced earlier this month that it has ordered the construction work of a replica Angkor Wat temple in Bihar to be suspended, and the plans re-drawn with suggestions from Cambodia.

The duplicate Angkor Wat in India's Bihar state. Source: The Telegraph 20150914

The duplicate Angkor Wat in India’s Bihar state. Source: The Telegraph 20150914

India Suspends Project for Construction of Angkor Wat Replica
VOA Khmer, 08 September 2015

India Gives up Angkor Wat Replica: Cambodian Spokesman
Khmer Times, 08 September 2015

India stops Angkor Wat replica after Cambodia protests
Global Construction Review, 09 September 2015

Row over Angkor replica ends
TTR Weekly, 11 September 2015

Cambodian officials invited to suggest changes to Angkor Wat ‘replica’
Can-India News, 14 September 2015

Diplomacy axe on Bihar Angkor copy – Centre acts on Ansari visit-eve
The Telegraph, 14 September 2015

Wat copy climbdown
The Telegraph, 14 September 2015

The Narendra Modi government has convinced a private trust in Nitish Kumar-ruled Bihar to drop plans to build a giant temple similar to the iconic Angkor Wat in Cambodia, defusing simmering diplomatic tension just ahead of a visit by Vice-President Hamid Ansari to the Southeast Asian nation.

Cambodia had asked India to stop the construction of the temple a little over 100km from Patna that Phnom Penh alleges is a “copy” of the Angkor Wat temple complex.

“We are facilitating a visit by a team of Cambodian experts to the site in Bihar, so they can examine the proposed temple and suggest the changes needed to avoid any similarity with Angkor Wat,” Anil Wadhwa, secretary (east) in the foreign office, said today. “The private trust building the temple has agreed to make any changes the Cambodian team suggests.”

Ansari departs tomorrow on a two-nation tour of Cambodia and Laos. In Cambodia, he will visit the Angkor Wat and the Ta Prohm temples – which India is helping restore.

Full story here.

Replica Angkor Wat temple construction delayed following official protest

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The construction of a Hindu temple in Bihar, India modeled after Angkor Wat, has been halted after official protest from the Cambodian government.

Cambodia-2638 - Mighty Angkor Wat

Cambodia’s protest hinders Virat Ramayan Mandir construction in Bihar
IANS, via India Today, 03 July 2015

Work stymied on India’s ‘imitation’ Angkor Wat
Phnom Penh Post, 04 July 2015

The Cambodian government protested in June that the temple, proposed to be built at Janki Nagar near Kesaria in East Champaran district that is about 150 km from Patna, was a “replica” of world famous 12th century Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia.

Angkor Wat was built during the rule of King Suryavarman II and is now a Unesco World Heritage site.

“The temple’s construction was to commence in June, but has since been delayed following the Cambodia government’s protest to the government of India,” said Acharya Kishore Kunal, secretary of Patna-based Mahavir Mandir Trust, which will take up the ambitious Rs.500-crore project.

Full stories here and here.

Cambodia protests against replica temple in India

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Cambodia raises an official complaint to India over the construction of a temple in Bihar, which is modeled after Angkor Wat and designed to be larger than in. The basis for the Cambodian protest is that Angkor Wat is a symbol of the country itself (it is on the flag after all), and the replica temple will diminish that status – and also draw away tourist dollars.

Angkor ‘copy’ raises ire
Phnom Penh Post, 08 June 2015

Cambodia lodges protest with India over Angkor Wat replica
Hindustan Times, 07 June 2015

Cambodia lodges protest with India over Angkor Wat replica
IBN Live, 07 June 2015

Angkor ‘replica’ plan angers Cambodia
Bangkok Post, 06 June 2015

Cambodia protests India’s plan to build replica of iconic Angkor Wat Temple
Xinhua, 06 June 2015

Angkor Wat Is No. 1 Landmark, But Indian Copy Inspires Fear
Cambodia Daily, 05 June 2015

Cambodian Government worried about Bihar’s Viraat Ramayana Temple
Bihar Prabha, 04 June 2015

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken its concerns over a large-scale “copy” of Angkor Wat to be built in Bihar, India – first mooted to a firestorm of controversy in 2012 – directly to the Indian government, asking it to intervene and put a halt to the project.

In a letter sent Saturday to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, the government appealed to India to act in order to maintain “historical” diplomatic ties between the two countries.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia considers that this copy of Angkor Wat temple [built] for commercial benefit seriously violates [its] world heritage, which is a universal and exceptional value of humanity,” the letter states.

It continued: “[The Cambodian government] strongly requests that India’s Ministry of External Affairs … reconsiders the planned construction of the Angkor Wat replica in order to preserve the traditional historic relations between the two countries and our people.”

Read the Phnom Penh Post story here.

Cambodia not amused by replica Angkor Wat plans

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As expected, the official reaction to the Bihar Mahavir Mandir Trust’s plan to build a replica Angkor Wat in Bihar that was same-same, but bigger was not positive. The Cambodian government has called it “a shameful act”.

Cambodia expresses irritation at Angkor Wat copy in India, 07 March 2012

Angkor redux scepticism
Phnom Penh Post, 07 March 2012

Angkor’s away! India plans larger than life copy of Cambodia’s iconic temple
The Indepdendent, 08 March 2012
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India's Angkor Wat replica


Judging from the number of mentions in the media, this has been the biggest trending story for Southeast Asian Arrchaeology this week. India announced that they would be building a replica of Angkor Wat at Bihar, which would be the taller than the original in Cambodia and the tallest Hindu temple in the world after it is completed in 10 years time. The new temple will be called Virat Angkor Wat Ram temple. I’m not sure what the Cambodian reaction is to this, but reading some Cambodian forums I get the sense some of discomfort from replicating Angkor Wat because it is a national icon. What do you think? Is building a replica of Angkor Wat a good idea? Would it be a good tourist draw? Would it draw tourists away from the original Angkor Wat? (which may not be such a bad thing…)

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat temple replica’s foundation-laying begins in India
Global Post, 05 March 2012

Angkor Wat temple ‘Bhumi-pujan’ today
The Times of India, 05 March 2012

India Plans Angkor Wat Replica
Huffington Post, 05 March 2012

By Ganga in Bihar, a new Angkor Wat rises
AFP, via The Asian Age, 06 March 2012

India building replica of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat
AP, via The Star, 06 March 2012

India constructing larger replica of Angkor Wat
CNNgo, 06 March 2012

Angkor Wat in India? 20M Replica to Rise in Bihar
International Business Times, 06 March 2012

Nalanda, the view from the sky

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The Archaeological Survey of India is embarking on a project to survey the Nalanda University complex via satellite. Why is this getting some air time on SEAArch? Because there’s an exhibition going on about Buddhism in Asia at Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum, with Nalanda as the focal point.

Satellite survey of Nalanda ruins begins in Bihar
Nerve News, 20 December 2007
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