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Work stymied on India's 'imitation' Angkor Wat

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The Cambodian government has complained that a planned temple in India is a copy of Angkor Wat. Hong Menea

Work stymied on India's 'imitation' Angkor Wat

Construction in India on the world’s biggest Hindu temple complex has been delayed in response to Cambodian government complaints that the design copies Angkor Wat.

The Cambodian government wrote to India’s Ministry of External Affairs in June, demanding it halt the proposed Viraat Ramayan Mandir temple in Bihar, India, which it called a “replica” of the Kingdom’s famous world heritage site.

Speaking yesterday, Kishore Kunal, who heads the Mahavir Mandir Trust, which first unveiled the project in 2012, said construction, initially planned for June, would not go ahead until the matter was settled.

“We have not started the construction because the Ministry of External Affairs requested, [together] with the Ministry of Culture of the government of India, that we amicably resolve this between the two nations.”

Kunal reiterated the plans did not “blindly” copy any temple but incorporated Hindu design elements found in India and Southeast Asia.

He said the trust would meet with the Cambodian ambassador and Indian officials to address Cambodia’s concerns.

“I have talked to the Cambodian ambassador and I told him that if he’s free, and if he can bring some architects, then I can come any day after 10 days,” he said.

“Architects will be in a better position to appreciate whether the architectural design is an exact replica or whether it is clearly different from the Ankgor Wat temple or not.

“That is the job of the architect because they are not involved politically."

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