Angkor Wat Replica in India?

Today, the news about Angkor Wat replica in India spread over internet and it becomes a very hot topic among Cambodian internet users.

According to BBC news website, a Hindu trust in eastern state of Bihar in India has already started building a bigger and taller replica of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple.

The project costs about USD 20 million and will cover on the land of 16 hectare (40 acre). It will spend up to 10 years to finish the whole Angkor Wat replica. The builders of the project stated that it will be the world’s largest Hindu temple when completed.

Questions are raised over this surprising news. Why they don’t build a new one instead of building Angkor Wat replica? Is it possible that they can build another Angkor Wat which will be bigger in size, and taller in height than the original one?

Looking at the budget spending on the replica, USD 20m sounds not enough. I don’t know what materials they will use to build the temple. The news reported that the trust plans to recreate the temple’s huge structure and elaborate stone carvings so the main material must be stone.

It sounds even more impossible to build replica of Angkor Wat huge structure from stone with USD 20m.

I guess it would costs hundreds millions of dollar to build this mega-structure temple and elaborate fine stone carvings like original Angkor Wat.

The replica will occupy only 16 hectare while the original Angkor Wat takes up to about 140 hectare. I can say that they can build a bigger one but only the central temple. The replica will lose many features of original Angkor Wat temple including libraries, moat, outer enclosed wall, and bridge.

Angkor Wat has been rebuilt as a small-size replica in many countries such as China and Thailand and it is not the first time that a foreign country builds it in a big scale.

France also used to build the replica of Angkor Wat on 1/1 scale for its Colonial Expo in 1931 but it could only build the central temple. Even though, France managed to build it in real scale the result was incomparable with the original.

It is good that India is trying to honour our Angkor Wat by building this replica but I find it’s not necessary.

They could build new temple to dedicate to their god instead of Angkor Wat in their own architecture style which looks very different from Cambodian architecture.

For me, even if they could build it, it will not affect the fame of our Angkor since the replica will not include many important features I mentioned above.

They just build the main structure in a bigger size and I don’t think they can make stone carving as fine as the real Angkor Wat.

In contrast, People who see the replica will want to see the real one so it will help boost the growth of tourists coming from India to Cambodia.

And how about you? How do you think about this story?

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  1. says

    Thank you Reaseyh for this clear information about the scale and the impossible to build another Angkor Wat! 

    In someway people are still waiting if there’s any reaction from the Cambodia Government. But as you mentioned in the report, this replica could give only an idea about the real original Angkor Wat which is built in Siem Reap, Cambodia since 12th century.

  2. says

    The Poll from HUFF POST: Would you visit an Angkor Wat replica? show the result that 66% of the votes said: “no”, compared to 33% said “why not”.

    You can vote also via this link:

  3. Go says

    S. Sarin, has written: “The Cambodian country, with its
    own language, knows Sanskrit as well since the dawn of history and some learned
    scholars speak of Indo-Khmer culture, as the aspects of question are
    interconnected to one another. So viewed, the deep cause of the noble sense of
    gratefulness in Cambodian behavior is firstly due to the Ramayana, which had been well-known, for example
    through the bas-relief of Angkor Temples.” In Cambodian language, Tin Gun meaning “knowing, acknowledging what has been
    done, grateful.” In Cambodian way of speaking, people have Tin, and Gun (guna), “quality.”

    Indian Epic Values: Ramayana and Its Impact – By G.
    Pollet p.222-228).

    • Rational Please! says

      Go and the other…. 
      I am not sure where is this author got the writing and his or her impression from. First of all, their is no Cambodian language in this world. It is called Khmer language. It is simple, for example, the Australians are not speak Australian, but they speak English. Second, the word Deung Khun is not Tin Gun, however this term is not related to the replica of Angkor Wat which is the solve identity of Cambodia. It is just a matter of “Building-It-Bigger” or “competition-on-scale” sentiment from a certain group of day-dreaming-people. If it is purposely built just for exhibition, YES it is fine to do! But then they have to demolish it as the French did at Paris. Even it is a replica, but this is not funny “London-eyes” or “Singapore-eyes”, the new one has to be bigger and grander than the old one! 

  4. IAF101 says

    As an Indian and a hindu I think it is a honor to have your temple built on the banks of the river Ganges, so I don’t understand the problem really. Plus this will be a functioning temple, where pooja’s are carried out daily, where people actually come to pray and it will be a holy site, not a tourist attraction, so it will be more sacred that the original which is no longer used for religious worship. As to the intricate carvings, you must check out the Sun Temple in Konark Orissa in India or the Chola Temples in South India, all have similar motifs. It won’t be impossible to duplicate but I can’t say if It will be comparable exactly. Also, the stones used generally will not be regular granite but possibly something special. Most Cambodians who have a problem with the construction of this replica seem to be under the impression that this is some attempt to usurp their heritage or claim Angkor Wat as Indian. I can assure you, Indians have no such ambitions and are quite content with our own heritage. I think an Indian design could also have been used with equally great architecture or carvings but I don’t think it would generate the same level of interest from the general Hindu population. There are more than a dozen temples in India with great historical and architectural significance on the lines of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, rarely do Western tourists visit these places. Mostly, these temples are visited by Hindus and Indians. Angkor Wat’s replication in India might generate more tourism for Cambodia to see the original and the other smaller temples complexes in the country from Indians but it will also give access to millions of Indians who can’t afford to go to Cambodia to see the original to appreciate a part of Hindu culture most Indians only hear about on Discovery Channel or in books. 

    • Daniel says

       I’m a Khmer, and I find it an honor that India would want to replicate Angkor Wat.  It show’s that they appreciate it and I don’t see why many people are so upset about this.

  5. says

    I am an Indian woman, just returned back from Cambodia after volunteering in Siem Reap. Cambodia is famous for its temples, especially Angkor Wat which has no comparison at all.  

    I am equally surprised to know that a state in India is trying to make a replica. In my opinion it is not needed. If Bihar govt is thinking to attract tourists, it won’t happen. Only domestic tourists will visit it who can not afford to go to Cambodia. And they will still fail to visualize the gigantic structure of original temple.

    In one of the comments above, it is mentioned that it’ll be a functioning temple. If it’s going to be used for holy cause, then why Angkor Wat? It could well have been any Hindu temple. 

    Also, the Angkor Wat temple is not only about worshiping (BTW, it still happens in some corners of the temple in a small scale). It has much more to it e.g bas relief, the spacious courtyard, the sculptures.

    • says

      Thank you Nisha, I think the purpose of building this replica is not clear and everybody agree that it won’t be a necessary to copy from Angkor Wat, they should come out from their original and they have no right to use any name of Angkor Wat to name this replica. 

  6. says

    I agree to the rational please man, for the purpose of exhibition is fine, but their own religion benefits is like using someone’s product for own benefits….

    • says

      Yes, thank you Austin! As far as I know, India has a strong culture hundred years ago, similar to China or others countries. I think it is better to create something from their own rather than copy. 

      • says

        The problem is because Angkor Wat is the national symbol of Cambodia. Create a replica taller than the original and to say that the tallest Angkor Wat is not in Cambodia, but in India. It’s like to steal the national identity of Cambodia.

        Why not create a new tallest indu temple in India, but not a replicate of Angkor Wat !

        It is not good for the both countries. What people will think if they knew the tallest hinduism temple on the world is just a replicate of another ?

    • Antoine says

      they can copy but it will never be the same. Moreover people will well know which one is original.  I don t think there is any attemps to usurpate the Angkor Wat identity.
      Angkor will always remain more attractive because : Angkor is more than 100 temples, not only Angkor Wat ; the original will always look more genuine ; the context will never be the same (pagodas around Angkor Wat, local people around, weather, etc …)
      Moreover, we can be 90% sure it will not be identic replica ; they will customize it to be more functional, to welcome properly the public, to follow safety rules, …
      Finally, also need to keep in mind indians are nmore than 1 billion. and that we are already considering to limit the number of tourists per day on angkoe temples in order to preserve them. For sure, this replica will not affect the tourism in Cambodia.
      Last thing, this kind of replica has already been done for many other monuments from Europe, all over the world, and peopel never confused the root of the culture

  7. idontknowhim says

    wow i wonder if the king of kampuchea and khmer people and other tribe people and the undiscrible in past that build and crave and construct the original angkor watt have ask them self would any country try to build a replica like angkor lol if i was one of them i be okay cause the orignal angkor watt is soo nice and beautiful man that it is as beautiful as it can get all other country trying to do is building it bigger or smaller LOL anyways im fine with it

  8. khmerclips says

    I don’t any idea, but I hope that they will do official request to our government in order to build on in their country. It is surely help promote Cambodia and also helping show up that we do not just only exist but we have sth. that surprise the world. :)

  9. says

    This project is just a shame. To make a replicate “tallest” than the original, it is disrespectful for cambodian people. I understood Angkor Wat is the national symbol of Cambodia ? Maybe, I’m wrong ?

  10. says

    What interesting for me is, India appreciated of the idea of Angkor architecture intern of believing for their Hindu God which no other architecture of India can perfectly dedicated to match like that.. I mean the meaning out of it..(the design) when they completed it you will see how great of our Ancestor, and how Khmer Empire mean to! So proud being a Khmer! Thanks Indian for helping promote and make the world a ware of Khmer Empire!

  11. Nessa sem says

    i belive that 
    the replica of Angkor Wat by the Hindu Trust could affect the friendship between Cambodia and India..india no right to copy angkor wat.

    • says

      I think they must send the request to Cambodian Government and see how we react to their plan before starting do anything.

      If they want to make peace with us, they should make an approach first. According to the reaction of Cambodian Government, we didn’t receive any request and it seems that our Government doesn’t agree with this project.

      I think they are not working with Indian Gov to solve this.

      Will keep update if any news.

  12. says

    I don’t agree with the replication.
    1. Today, we know India copy Angkor Wat. Possibly, in next hundred years, people may say Cambodia copies India.
    2. There shouldn’t be two Ankor Wat in one world. People should respect intellectual right of Cambodia.
    3. When Angkor Wat in Cambodia is old and ruin, then there is only Angkor Wat in India. 
    4. Agnkor Wat represents not only the greatest architecture but also the whole Cambodian image. So when people think about Angkor Wat, it is Cambodian or Indian? 

    • Antoine says

      for sure, you expose some interesting arguments and questions. but it also leads to deeper questions :
      2. intellectual rights : Do you think Cambodia respects a lot of intellectual rights, specially regarding clothes, music and movies ? And what about shopping malls and towers (some still only a project) with the same name as oversea (Paragon exists in Bangkok, Surya mall exists in Kuala Lumpur, IFC tower exists in HangKong, etc …)
      intellectual rights does not go only 1 way, but is a respect of the others, in both way !
      3. So it means if Angkor in Cambodia disapear because of any reason (natural catastroph, war, lack of maintenance, etc ..). everybody will forget about Angkor. A replica will have the benefit to remind what was the orogonal !

      • says

        2. Intellectual right is sometimes unavoidable. Cambodia is less developed country than India, and intellectual right isn’t yet in control, but we’re trying to respect the copyrights. India is powerful country and more educated, so it should perform better. This case, India isn’t only copying the Architecture but also the image of Cambodia. However, Cambodia has never tried to copy a country. We don’t want to replicate White House, so people think we are American. We want people to think it is Cambodian when they remind about Angkor Wat. I think clothes, music, or some buildings are more going the way of globalization and it’s a matter of individuals not the whole nation.

        3. What’re really the purpose of the replica? Promote or profit?..I think building the replica in India has more business manners rather than to promote or remind people about the original Angkor Wat.     

  13. Chiva says

    I think the Hindu don’t like what Khmer did put the Buddha Statues in Angkor Wat which was original built for the Hindu God, so they like to see the real Angkor Wat for the Hindu God not the Buddha Statues. At least they build for the Hindu God, if you look at Thailand, they build Angkor Wat for the massage Spa that is very outrage.

    Besides, Khmer were part Indian and even the name of Khmer country named after the Indian King Kampu from India and also Khmer copied Indian Hindu epic Ramayana.


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