Angkor…. What Replica?

I just came across an article by Camboguide that talked about an Angkor Wat replica being built in India. According to the article, “officials in eastern India announced their plan to build a replica of Cambodia’s spellbinding 12th-century temple, Angkor Wat, on the banks of the Ganges in the state of Bihar.”

I don’t know what you think but I personally think this is silly. Cambodian officials are worried that actual tourist traffic will decrease in Cambodia because of this but I think a replica will always be just a replica. Just because they are building this doesn’t mean that Angkor Wat’s value decreases in any way.

Angkor Wat is appreciated for not just its beautiful structure but more valued because of its history and the length of time it survived through – because of the story that it tells. There is no way human can make the same ‘effects’ nature has made on the building over centuries, shaping it into what it is today. Yes, it may increase tourism traffic to India but the level of appreciation will be different. After-all, it’s a completely different awe and inspiration having a group of people and machines building something that looks like Angkor Wat versus people in the 12th century crafting the building solely by hand. Angkor Wat is beautiful because of what it is and this brand new ‘biggest Hindu temple’ should not devalue the name of Angkor Wat.

“The Indian Angkor will have five storeys and five “shikhars” or pinnacles, like the Cambodian original. It is estimated that work on the main structure, which will sit on a 16ha site in Vaishali district, will take up to five years, while completing the project could take a decade.” Apparently it will cost about $25 million dollars. Silly effort.

Not opposed to them building a new temple but don’t label it as an ‘Angkor Wat Replica’ and have the word Angkor Wat in the name. Whatever happens, Angkor Wat will be Angkor Wat and Virat Angkor Wat Ram Mandir will be Virat Angkor Wat Ram Mandir NOT Angkor Wat. (I said Angkor Wat one too many times there.)

Check out the story on BBC and The Guardian. In about ten years, I assume the conversation will be “I’m going to visit Angkor Wat!” “Oh, which one?”

There’s only one. Silly.

What are your thoughts on this?

This post is also published on my Tumblr Blog: For the Better

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6 thoughts on “Angkor…. What Replica?

  1. No one is travelling to India to see a replica. And for local tourism, how many Indian tourists do you see at Angkor Wat? Exactly. 25 million dollars is nothing compared to the history surrounding Angkor, the elephants and slaves that dragged the stone blocks through the jungle, and the engineering to make the largest religious monument in the world without sealant or cement.

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