By Imran Khan
Patna–Work is set to start soon to build what could well be the world’s largest Hindu temple — in Bihar.
Those behind the idea say no more hurdles are left for the construction to begin after Holi festival next year, now that the original plan was modified following objections from the Cambodian government.
“We modified our original plan after Cambodia raised objection to our Viraat Ramayan Mandir, saying it is a replica of Angkor Wat,” Acharya Kishore Kunal of the Patna-based Mahavir Mandir Trust told IANS.
“We are set to start work after Holi, which will be an auspicious time,” he said.
A former Indian Police Service officer, Kunal said the design or architecture of the proposed temple will have nothing to do with Angkor Wat, visited by millions every year.
The Cambodian temple complex was built in the 12th century during king Suryavarman’s rule and is now a Unesco World Heritage site.
The proposed temple will come up over 165 acres at Janki Nagar near Kesaria in West Champaran district, about 150 km from Patna. It will cost over Rs 200 crore in the first phase.
That is when the Ramayan Mandir and a Shiv and Mahavir temple each would be built.
Its main attraction will be its 405-feet-high octangular spires. It will be taller than the Angkor Wat temple, which is 215 feet high. The complex will comprise 18 temples.
It will have a Shiva Linga, 44 feet tall and 33 feet in circumference — proposed to be the tallest in the world.
Kunal said when work on the temple was to start last year, the Cambodian government raised objections with New Delhi, saying it was a copy of Angkor Wat.
Kunal and his team then re-exmained their plan. The modified plan was sent to Phnom Penh last year and again early this year through the Ministry of External Affairs.
The Cambodian embassy in New Delhi reportedly indicated that in case of any objection, it will suggest modifications.
“I have been informed by our government that there is no response from the Cambodian embassy,” Kunal said. “So, a decision has been taken to start the construction work.”
He said the temple design has been influenced by over a dozen famous temples in India and abroad, particularly Thailand and Indonesia.
Many Muslims have provided land at a nominal rate for the temple. “Without their help, it would have been difficult to take up this dream project,” Kunal said.
The temple would have a seating capacity of 20,000 in a hall facing the main temple having the idols of Rama, Sita, Luv and Kush.
L&T, India’s leading construction company, will build the temple.