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Bihar temple changes name after protest from Cambodia

By M I Khan
August 10, 2012 14:23 IST
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A Hindu trust has changed the name of a temple, proposed to be the world's largest, in Bihar's East Champaran district from Viraat Angkor Wat Ram Temple to Viraat Ramayan Mandir in view of a controversy.

The Angkor Wat temple is currently the largest Hindu temple in the world. It is in Cambodia and was built in the early 12th century during the reign of the Cambodian king Suryavarman (1141-1152 AD).

The Bihar temple, the trust claimed, would be larger that the Cambodian temple.

"To respect the sentiments of the Cambodian people we have changed the name of the proposed temple from Viraat Angkor Wat Ram Temple to Viraat Ramayan Mandir," said Acharya Kishore Kunal, a retired Indian Police Service officer and the secretary of Bihar Mahavir Mandir Trust, which looks into the affairs of the temple.

The temple will house the idols of Radha-Krishna, Shiva-Parvati, Ganesh, Surya, Vishnu and the Dashavataram, the ten incarnations of Vishnu.

Kunal said that it is clear that the proposed temple was not going to be an exact replica of Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple. "The proposed temple is going to be even larger than the Angkor
Wat Temple, so it can't be exact replica. The Cambodian temple has got only nine shikhars (spires) against 13 in our main temple and 18 in all."

Kunal's statement assumes significance in view of the fact that Union Culture Minister Kumari Selja in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday said that there was no proposal as such to build a replica of the Cambodian Hindu temple and that the temple trust had abandoned the plan.

The Union government had made the official statement following a protest by the Cambodian government. 

According to Kunal, the temple trust has acquired 160 acres land for the project that will be spread over 90 acres of land. The main temple itself will be 1,250 ft long and 1,150 ft wide. Its shikhar (spire) will be 270 ft tall. The proposed temple will be completed over the next seven to eight years, he said

A few months ago, Kunal said that the new temple will follow the architectural design of the Angkor Wat temple.

An Ahmedabad-based reputed temple architect, Piyush Sompura, has been roped in to plan the architectural design of the proposed temple. 
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M I Khan in Patna