Buddhist monks in front of the reflection pool at Angkor Wat, Cambodia (sam garza/Wikimedia Commons)

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India stops Angkor Wat replica after Cambodia protests

9 September 2015 | By David Rogers | 3 Comments

India’s plan to build a replica of the Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex has been halted after the Cambodian government objected to the scheme.

The announcement was made by Naveen Srivastava, the newly installed Indian ambassador to Cambodia.

The government of India has told the developer, the Mahavir Mandir Trusts, to alter its plans to avoid copying Angkor Wat, and has offered to let Cambodian officials approve the revised design.

Cambodia had raised strenuous objections to the scheme.

Hor Namhong, the country’s deputy prime minister, described the complex as the “heart and soul of the Cambodian people”.

Cambodian historian Ros Chantrabot applauded India for its decision.

He said the structure would have “degraded” the reputation of the Mahavir Mandir Trusts and of “Indian culture and civilization”.

Angkor Wat is a 12th century Hindu temple complex built in the style of medieval Khmer architecture in Siem Reap province.

It attracted 1.4 million visitors in the first eight months of 2015, earning $40m in ticket sales.

The replica was to have been built in the northern Indian province of Bihar.

The $20m, 10-year project was announced in 2012 by Mahavir Mandir Trust, and was to have begun on site in June, before being postponed as a result of the diplomatic row.

As a further goodwill gesture, India is giving $4m to conserve the Preah Vihear temple complex on the Cambodian–Thai border.

Photograph: Buddhist monks in front of the reflection pool at Angkor Wat, Cambodia (sam garza/Wikimedia Commons)