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India committed to help preserve ancient temples

Va Sonyka / Khmer Times Share:
Ta Prohm temple under restoration. KT/Va Sonyka

India is continuing to assist in preserving Cambodia’s heritage by helping to maintain and repair it’s ancient temples.

Indian Ambassador to Cambodia Manika Jain said in keeping with the long standing ties between the two nations, India is currently helping in restoration work at the Ta Prohm temple in Siem Reap province.

She was speaking at a celebration to mark India’s 74th Independence Day, which was attended by nearly 200 people, at the Indian Embassy on August 15.

Ambassador Manika said India and Cambodia have built good relations with each other for many years and due to this, India has strived to contribute to the preservation of Cambodia’s national heritage, including maintaining the ancient temples in the Kingdom.

She noted that the Indian government has long been supporting Cambodia’s temple preservation efforts, including the restoration of Angkor Wat in the mid-1980s.

Apart from the Ta Prohm project, Ambassador Manika said India is also contributing to the development of Cambodia by providing assistance in several areas, including health, education and community development.

Ambassador Manika Jain speaks during India’s 74th Republic Day celebration at the embassy in Phnom Penh. Supplied

As part of India’s restoration project, Ta Prohm, built in the late 12th century, has been temporarily closed while work is ongoing. Some large and old trees in the Ta Prohm temple area, which are part of the temple’s attractions, have also been cut down to preserve the temple.

Many temple stones have also been restored according to the original temple plan. Some parts are being supported by wooden or metal poles to prevent them from collapsing.

The Ta Prohm temple restoration project is being led by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is a leading government organisation in India. It is in charge of undertaking archaeological research, conservation and protection of important cultural heritage sites.

To date, ASI has been working on 3,676 important monuments in the world. Of these, 22 are World Heritage sites. Cambodia is among many countries in the world that ASI is working with to preserve such sites. Apart from Cambodia, ASI is also working in Asean countries such as Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.

The Ta Prohm conservation project started in January 2004 and ASI has said it is one of the most interesting and challenging projects currently being undertaken by it. The project is aimed at highlighting the authenticity and integrity of the temple complex which is also popularly known as Tree Temple.

Currently, restoration on some parts of the temple, such as the Third Enclosure Gallery, Eastern side South Wing and Causeway connecting the 3rd and 4th Enclosure on West, have been completed. However work has not been completed yet as the ASI team is continuing to repair other parts of the temple.

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