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Largest Hindu temple won't be exact replica of Angkor Wat

March 27, 2012 20:52 IST

The Hindu temple which will be constructed in Bihar's Vaishali district will have the tallest 'shikhar' (spire) in the world. M I Khan reports

The proposed world's largest Hindu temple in Bihar's Vaishali district is not going to be a replica of Combodia's Angkor Wat temple.

"It will follow the architectural design of the Angkor Wat temple but it will not be the exact replica because our measurements vary from theirs," said Acharya Kishore Kunal, a retired IPS officer and the secretary of Bihar Mahavir Mandir Trust on Tuesday.

Kunal said that earlier the temple was to be 222 ft long, 222 ft wide and 222 ft tall, but now after a lot of research and consultation with experts who have worked on the Angkor Wat temple, it has been decided to make it 360 feet long and 360 feet wide and 270 feet tall, which will make it the largest Hindu temple with the tallest 'shikhar' (spire) in the world.

He said that like Angkor Wat temple, this Hindu temple too will have five layers and devotees will have to walk a long way through five layers before reaching the fifth layer that will house the presiding deity -- God Ram -- at a height of 72 ft from the ground floor.

There will be 21 sanctum sanctora and 21 'shikhars' in the temple. For the old and infirm devotees there will be escalators to assist them to reach the main temple of Ram.

Kunal said that an Ahmedabad based reputed temple architect, Piyush Sompura, has been roped in to plan the architectural design of the proposed temple. Sompura would visit Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia before finalising the plan.

According to Sompura, there will be no financial problem in executing the project.

Kunal said that Sompura is so fascinated with the project that he has come all the way from Ahmedabad on his own expense to plan the largest Hindu temple. "He has been magnanimous in making the offer that he will plan the entire project without charging any fee for the project," Kunal said.

Early this month, the much-awaited 'bhumi-pujan' (foundation laying) of the temple was performed.

"Land worth around Rs 30 crore has already been acquired for the purpose from locals," Kunal said.

The proposed temple will be named 'Virat Angkor Wat Ram Mandir' and will house the idols of Radha-Krishna, Shiva-Parvati, Ganesh, Surya, Vishnu and the 'Dashavataram', the ten incarnations of Vishnu.

It will take up to five years to construct the temple and another five years to give the final finishing touches to it.

On selection of the specific site for construction of the world's largest Hindu temple, Kunal said the place has mythological significance as it was said that the Ramayana characters, namely Ram, Lakshman and Vishvamitra had set foot on the site and were welcomed by King Sumati of the Vaishali kingdom.

The Angkor Wat temple was built in Cambodia in the 12th century during the rule of the then Cambodian king Suryavarman (1141-1152 AD). It is a listed UNESCO-world heritage site.

M I Khan in Patna