India is building a replica of Angor Wat. There’s nothing to fear for our original Cambodian Angkor Wat at all. Even if the replica is set to be biggest than ours, the Patna Angkor Naga will be, surely, so anonymous to many as the 30 replicas of the Tower Eiffel or the numberless replicas of the Statue of the Liberty. See in this forum the Chinese Wall’s replicas too with amazing photos. Now well, the Mahavir Mandir Trust, an organization known in the Bihar State for the construction of hospitals and religious compounds, is the responsible of the ambitions work. It will take about ten years – Angkor Wat took about 30 during the 12th century – and it will cost 20 million US dollars !!! It will be located 40 kilometers outside Patna. It is understandable that a country where Hindu majority would like ‘to have’ the biggest Hindu complex of the world, that it’s not in India, but in Cambodia ! Anyway, Angkor Wat or Angkor Nagar was dedicated to Vishnu, but it was converted to Buddhism some centuries after. What it cannot be understood is to spend 20 million US dollars for a replica in a country with so big social gap as India.
Update: Here in Asia Times a good development of the growing discussion. A very good description with some curious reactions like the one of a university students at Phnom Penh worry for the lost of tourism if the replica is made – it seems that for this boy Angkor Wat is just a tourist attraction like Disneyland!!! -, the optimistic perspective of Sombo Manara, the deputy chairman of the history department at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, who says that ‘before we thought that all culture – like Brahmanism and Buddhism – came from India to Cambodia. But now why don’t we feel happy that our Cambodian culture is spreading back to India?’ and the funny answer of Acharya Kishore Kunal, the Mahavir Mandir Trust’s secretary, who never has come to Cambodia, who said that he is ‘slightly scared‘ to come because ‘some people [in Cambodia] want to throw shoes on me…’ Who!!! Please…
If you come from any country of Europe, I would recommend you to take a flight to Bangkok. Then do not take the flight directly to Phnom Penh, but to Siem Reap Airport. Traveling back to your country, book your flight not from Siem Reap, but from Phnom Penh Airport. In this way, after visiting Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat sites, you go to Phnom Penh and visit the south of the country. Continue reading →
The National Library of Cambodia and the Australian Embassy organized this week a forum in Phnom Penh to talk about culture of reading. Unfortunately I did not participate, because I did not get any invitation and, moreover, Sihanoukville is three hours by car from Phnom Penh. I got the news from The Cambodia Daily that entitled it ‘Cambodia Lacks Reading Culture, Experts Say.‘ Then I said ‘Eureka! These guys discovered the wet water! Continue reading →
Angkor Wat was built under the reign of Suryavarman II (1113 – 1150) and it is the biggest temple of the Angkor civilization. It can be translated as City Temple and became a national emblem of Cambodia (the national flag represents three of its central towers). The complex is located six kilometers (3.72 miles) at the north of Siem Riep downtown and one kilometer (0.62 miles) at the south of Angkor Thom. Continue reading →
The financial global crisis, the swine flu, the political instability in Thailand and the rainy season are changing tourist numbers in Cambodia, according to an article of the English Cambodian newspaper The Phnom Penh Post. Continue reading →