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Subhamoy Das

Cambodia’s Ancient Shiva Temple Reopens after 50 Years of Renovation

By July 5, 2011

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The fabled 11th-Century Baphuon Shiva temple in the Angkor Thom complex of Cambodia reopened on July 3, 2011,  after half a century of reconstruction work. Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia, and is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Described as the world's largest puzzle, renovation work which began in the 1960s but interrupted by Cambodia's civil war, involved dismantling the monument's 300,000 almost unequal sandstone blocks and putting them back together again. All documents to reassemble the Baphuon puzzle were reportedly destroyed by the communist Khmer Rouge regime that came to power in 1975. This great pyramidal, three-tiered intricately carved ancient temple, one of the largest monuments of Cambodia, was said to be on the brink of collapse when reconstruction work was undertaken.

The inauguration ceremony on July 3, 2011, was attended by Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon in Siem Reap province, about 143 miles northwest of capital Phnom Penh. France funded this $14 million undertaking, in which no mortar fills the cracks so each stone has its own place in the monument.

baphuonBaphuon, one of Cambodia's biggest temples after Angkor Wat, is believed to have been the state temple of King Udayadityavarman II, built in circa 1060 AD. It has Shiva lingam, scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata, depiction of Krishna, Shiva, Hanuman, Sita, Vishnu, Rama, Agni, Ravana, Indrajit, Nila-Sugriva, Asoka trees, Lakshmana, Garuda, Pushpaka, Arjuna, and other Hindu Gods and mythological characters.

The Angkor Archaeological Park contains magnificent remains of over 1000 temples going back to ninth century, spread over about 400 square kilometers, and receives about three million visitors annually.

July 5, 2011 at 6:19 am
(1) sunik says:

many many thanks to combodian government & Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon. it is nice to have this news and govt must promote this area as the great tourist place to visit. letthis news be sent toall over the world. for promotions as the must visit. thanks once again.

July 5, 2011 at 7:08 am
(2) Ajay says:

Glad to know it. Great!!

July 5, 2011 at 7:47 am
(3) Anshuman Rath says:

This is a very good news..Thanks to combodian and French governments..Anshuman Rath

July 5, 2011 at 8:00 am
(4) Rajesh Saxena, Mumbai, India says:

I have been to Angkor wat and it is a defining experience. When you get to see the mahabharat carvings that stretch to a good 100 fts its jaw dropping and one feels humble there! I would very strongly recommend to be at the temple but pl avoid the summers there, it is very hot to complete the complex which would take good 8 hrs on foot. If you want more info pl write to me rajeshsaxena@gmail.com or visit my blog http://rajeshsax.blogspot.com/

July 5, 2011 at 8:01 am
(5) yagya says:

our politicians should have looked towards, but they had always been obsessed with west

July 5, 2011 at 8:31 am
(6) Renu says:

simply GREAT !

July 5, 2011 at 9:30 am
(7) k srinivasan says:

awesome indeed !!! three kudos to about.com for its excellent news about the age old Lord.Shiva Temple in Cambodia. Let me wait for an opportunity to visit. if there be any tourism offer from the governement of cambodia for the same , it would be too wonderful .
thanks again,
k.srinivasan iyer m.a.

July 5, 2011 at 9:33 am
(8) Suman says:

It is important for us Indians to know that this great architectural feat was possible due to the expert assistance provided by the Indian Archaeological Association and the Government of India. Their contribution may not have beeen in terms of billions of Dollars, but by sending teams of experts to live there and guide the process, thus making sure of maintaining its architectural integrity and authenticity.

July 5, 2011 at 9:57 am
(9) Dr S B Gor says:

Its about time Secularism should include Hinduism .Western and Islamic nations encourage and sustain there religions without feeling shame or refrain– they send money etc to all over the world to build Churches and mosques–why is India govt not doing that –Hindus are majority–hope they acknowlge that–they shoulde have built temples etc all over the world—instead of discouraging.Government should helped renovation of such old temples all over the world.Are we still following the polices of Muslim western invadesrs who were out to oust Hindu culture religion-as they were never secular–Hindus should make realise that Hindus need to be treated well.

July 5, 2011 at 10:04 am
(10) Sai Ganesh Hariharan says:

This is an excellent work, and thanks to the Cambodian Govt. for this, this is an good example, even we Indians shoud follow this example and preserve our ancient temples.

July 5, 2011 at 11:22 am
(11) Ashok says:

I am grateful to the spirit of people of Cambodia and France for this historic restoration of a Hindu heritage. I am not surprised that there is no participation of India-a country that usually encourages defiling of Hindu Gods as work of “art”. I take this opportunity to express my further wish that one day the same spirit will gather momentum and give us back our “Bamian” Buddha.

July 5, 2011 at 11:51 am
(12) Prajna Kalidasa says:

Such wonderful news at a time when it is so obvious that our Great God is dancing through the world so powerfully yet again!

July 5, 2011 at 12:15 pm
(13) Amudhan says:

It is very heartening, but here in India many temples are getting destroyed

July 5, 2011 at 11:59 pm
(14) Shankerprasad S Bhayy says:

This is a great thing for a Hindu religion that Lord Shiva’s temple is renovated y a foregn country and now being opened for the public
More details be forwrded to us.
We vare very proud
Please perform worship for us
Where lord Shiva resided that country and iys [people be very happy and prosperous
Please convey my message to the king and its organisors

Truly yours

Shankerprasad S Bhatt
Writer Social worker

July 6, 2011 at 2:27 am
(15) SaiSarla says:

I am delighted to know this since I always cherished a dream to visit this temple. Hopefully, it will come true some day.

July 6, 2011 at 3:05 am
(16) siva says:

show this to the Talibans……

July 7, 2011 at 6:45 am
(17) Jayaprakash Nair says:

I am indeed very happy to understand that one of the biggest Shiva Temples in the world has been reconstructed and opened for prayers for the Lord Shiva’s devotees. Iam in fact a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Thanks for giving this inspiring News.

July 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm
(18) Patricia says:

Thanks about.com for sharing this wonderful news

July 11, 2011 at 3:09 am
(19) Jayalaksmi says:

I’m very infinitely happy to hear this news. Million of thanks to Cambodians, French prime minister and to all have who have involved in affords of reopening this temple. This temple definitely will preserve our culture and religion forever.

Dreaming to visit this temple one day…

July 28, 2011 at 12:02 am
(20) Deelip says:

Just seen this news. I am very impressed. Unfortunately
it will not reopen for prayers. The vibration must be
very high and spiritual presence must be felt, rather
than to make a tourist resorts for the making of money.
A world where materials rule over Spirituality!!
Though I thank those who have been helping to restore the

August 16, 2011 at 3:18 am
(21) Jayagunalen Tirumal says:

It may not be right to blame the Indian leaders for their inconsiderate attitute towards hinduism but, the majority hindus themselves who lives in ignorant. I have talked to some of this hindu indian expat’s in my country, their minds seems to be very much engrossed in acquiring wealth and wealth alone in contrast to Muslim or Christian expats’. They seems to be less or not at all bothered even upon learning the possibility of India falling into Muslims’ hand in long run. Some are even so dumb that they discourage or turn away if any of these people of other faith willingly coming into our fold. I think, hindus, particularly residential hindu indians needed to be enlightned on the religion politics so as to prevent hindus becoming minority like in the rest of the world.

September 4, 2011 at 3:44 am
(22) Manian says:

It is heartening to note that our religion has spread all over the world in ancient days. Even now our yoga is very popular abroad, people minting money.but here we have domination by other religions.Conversion for money has become common issue. Hindu population ratio goes down slowly

June 7, 2012 at 2:08 am
(23) Ramanaa says:

Iraivan Thiru Arul
Thanks to combodian and French governments.

July 28, 2012 at 5:56 am
(24) sahil Kumar says:

Thanks to french prime minister this is greatest thing to know heartly thankful to people of combodia. and everyone. Lord shiva glory is forever and ever. Aum Namah Shivay

October 3, 2012 at 3:46 am
(25) Kumar says:

Hi Tamilan……..it is one of the Largest and Hindu cultural temple Built by Raja Raja cholan and Surya va
rman -II. The great chola (The king of Tamil)empires spreading the rule and culture of Hindus built the temples.when i was hear the message wah …waoo…..wt fantastic work done by Raja rajan.its showing the Tamil people thinking , believing god,power,courage scientific approach…………….

May 16, 2013 at 2:45 am
(26) bharath iman says:

proud to be tamilian…..

June 2, 2013 at 5:58 am
(27) dhananjay says:

we are very proud be a hindu which was the only civilisation on universe and to those kings who constructed all these temples which is really a live example of our civilisation on earth every where in world about our religion everyone should understand this that there was no religion other than hindu on earth ancient and oldest religion

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