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US funds to preserve temple

The US Embassy in Phnom Penh has gifted $450,000 to the World Monuments Fund (WMF) for the preservation of Phnom Bakheng, a 10th-century hilltop Hindu temple that is popular among locals and tourists for its sunrise and sunset views over the nearby Angkor Wat complex.

According to a press release issued by the embassy on Friday, the WMF has received nearly $3 million since 2004 to preserve the structure.

This portion will go towards restoring the east half of the central temple to “reinstate the temple’s original structure and water management system by using both traditional and modern materials.”

Long Kosal, a spokesman for the Apsara Authority, confirmed the forthcoming project, but said a timeline for the temple’s restoration has yet to be chalked out.

“Phnom Bakheng has been a favourite destination for sunrise and sunset, and therefore it has been a priority for us to look into this conservation,” he said.

“Once the project is implemented, there is much work to be done … Conservation is time-consuming.”

US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Jay Raman said although the temple is associated with Angkor Wat views, it is an important archaeological site in its own right.

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