Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday responded to Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi by unveiling model of the “world’s largest temple”, with a towering height of 405 feet and a hall with a seating capacity for 20,000, that is to be built in state.
It is seen in Bihar circles as Nitish’s reply to Modi's pet project of the gigantic statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Kevadia, Gujarat.
Nitish Kumar, in his speech after unveiling the model of Viraat Ramayan Mandir to be constructed at Kesariya in East Champaran district, did not say a word on politics. He lauded Acharya Kishore Kunal, secretary of Patna-based Mahavir Mandir Trust that is undertaking the ambitious project.
He said that Bihar government would provide all possible help to ensure completion of construction of the temple.
The move has obviously stunned the Bihar BJP leaders, who hardly miss a chance to target Nitish, after the latter’s Janata Dal-United broke away from the NDA.
The model of the Viraat Ramayan Mandir was unveiled by Kumar in the presence of Dwarka Peeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopananda Saraswati at Mahavir Mandir complex in Patna at a function on Wednesday evening.
The temple will stand almost double the height of world-famous 12th century Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia, which is 215 feet high.
The complex will comprise of 18 temples with high spires, and its Shiv temple would have the largest Shivling in the world.
Acharya Kishore Kunal said work of earth filling at the 190 acre site has already completed.
He said the temple would have a whopping seating capacity of 20,000 in the hall facing the main temple, which will have the idols of Lord Ram, Sita, Luv and Kush.
“No temple in the world has such a huge seating capacity. The temple is to be built at a cost of over Rs.500 crore,” he added.
He said earlier the temple was named `Virat Angkor Wat Ram Mandir' but later its name was changed following objection by some people in Cambodia.
Angkor Wat was built during Hindu king Suryavarman's rule and is today a Unesco World Heritage site.
"The funds for the temple will be donated by devotees, particularly common people across the country," Kunal said.
Image: Model of the Viraat Ramayan Mandite to be consteructed at Kesariya in Bihar’s East Champaran district
Photograph Courtesy: Mahavir Mandir Trust