Replica wonder

Wednesday 21 Mar 2012

India plans to reproduce concrete copy of treasured Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia

Near Patna, the second largest city in Eastern India, an even larger and ambitious architectural project is being undertaken. Kishore Kunal sits on the Bihar State Board of Religious Trusts and is pushing through plans to build a replica of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex. The new temple aims to be even bigger than the original Ankgor Wat in an attempt to become the largest building in the world built for religious purposes. The build is estimated to take 10 years at the cost of £7.5m-£12.5m and will be a place of worship solely for Hinduism, unlike the original Ankgor Wat which was originally built as a temple to Vishnu but is now a holy site of Buddhism.

The original temple was built entirely with stone and is protected as a UNESCO world heritage site. The new temple however will be constructed with concrete in order to keep the builds cost and completion time down. The facades will be clad with granite in order to replicate the original and the design of the new temple will mimic that of the original. The new temple however will larger in several aspects, it will be wider overall and the five towers, iconic of the original, will be taller. The towers themselves will be built accordingly with stone, with traditional methods being used to accomplish this.

The Mahavir Mandir Temple trust, the committee responsible for the funding and vision behind the project, has recently held the foundation ceremony, marking the beginning of the build. The cost of the project has raised some criticism, as some argue that the money could be put to better use elsewhere, however the trust has been working for many years in the state of Bahir funding hospitals, medical research programmes and restoring temples and the local population has given a very positive response to the scheme.

Matthew Goodwill

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