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Cambodia objects to India's plans to build Angkor Wat replica

Cambodian officials have written to the Indian government raising strong objections to the construction of a replica of Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple in Bikar, India. According to the Cambodian government, the attempt at commercialising one of Cambodia's key historical and religious symbols violates its world heritage.

Cambodia objects to India's plans to build Angkor Wat replica

India is discovering that imitation is not always the best form of flattery. Cambodian officials have sent a diplomatic note to the government of India raising strong objections to the construction of a replica of Cambodia's historical Angkor Wat temple.

Current plans indicate that the replica temple will be constructed in the state of Bikar, India by Mahavir Mandir a Hindu trust based in that state.

According to the Mahavir Mandir the replica temple aims to:

"Cement further the strong bond between the two culturally rich countries."

However Cambodian officials are of the view that the such a replica is an attempt to commercialise a religious and historical symbol that has always belonged to Cambodia. According to reports the diplomatic note to India stated:

"The Royal Government of Cambodia considers that this copy of Angkor Wat temple for commercial benefit seriously violates the world heritage which is of a universal and exceptional value of humanity".

There is little surprise as to why India would look to replicate the Angkor Wat temple. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has been a major draw for holidaymakers from around the world and is a key reason as to why Cambodia is often on the list of must see holiday destinations in Southeast Asia. However, it would seem that the true significance of the temple is sometimes lost on some projects including the Mahavir Mandir trust.

Archaeologist Alison Carter recently commented that some people are ignorant of the fact that the Angkor Archeological Park is not an amusement park but is in fact home to living communities with scared places that are actively maintained and worshipped.

Ms Carter's comments came following reports that some holidaymakers were taking photographs of themselves in various forms of undress among the Angkor monuments. The Apsara Authority, charged with the management of the temple complex, is said to be currently working on a "visitors code of conduct".

Angkor Wat was recently named the winner of the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Landmarks, a list of holidaymakers' favourite monuments from around the world. Other monuments making the list include Peru's Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal in India.

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