Cambodia To Send Experts To Examine Angkor Wat Copy

Concerns over a new temple being built in Thailand are continuing over allegations that it is a copy of Angkor Wat.

Main picture Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia

Last month we reported that there were increasing calls from within Cambodia for construction work on the Sihanakhon temple, being built in the Buri Ram province of Thailand, be halted.

Now the Khmer Times is reporting that the Cambodian Ministry of Culture will send a team of archaeologists and temple architects to the temple to examine the works. The investigation will need to wait however until the Covid-19 situation and quarantine allows.

Sihanakhon temple credit Surachai Piraksa / Bangkok Post

Many Cambodians were enraged when news of the temple came to light and the hashtags #SaveAngkorWat and #Angkorwatbelongtokhmer quickly trended on Twitter. Many accused the Ministry of Culture of not doing enough to protect the cultural identity of the Khmer people and Cambodia.

Temple abbot Somsak Sungwarajitto has claimed that the project was born of his imagination and vision and is not a copy. However Vong Sotheara, Director of the Department of History, and Professor of Inscriptions and History of Khmer and Southeast Asia, at the Royal University of Phnom Penh is not so sure.

“Cambodia should study more about this construction.

I do not agree with the interpretation  of Angkor Wat produced by Thailand, after I checked the construction plan, the floor layout of Angkor Wat is similar as well as the towers, but the decoration of the towers is in an older style than the period when Angkor Wat was built.”

Vong Sotheara, Director of the Department of History, and Professor of Inscriptions and History of Khmer and Southeast Asia, at the Royal University of Phnom Penh via Khmer Times

Officials from the Buri Ram cultural office have defended the temple claiming that it is a combination of several famous sites.

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