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Thursday, Sep 23, 2021
Outlook.com

At The Altar Of Acrimony

Governments wrangle over restoration work as smugglers ravage the 12th century temple complex

At The Altar Of Acrimony
At The Altar Of Acrimony
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
IT ranks with the pyramids as one of the world's greatest wonders. Though battered by centuries of exposure to the vagaries of the weather, and more recently, the 0depradationof smugglers and even a civil war, the Angkor Wat complex still stands as a glorious symbol of bygone days. Yet today, the 12th century Hindu temple complex in north-eastern Cambodia has become the cause of unseemly recriminations among nations which volunteered to help restore it to its former glory.

The first to offer help were the Indians. More out of sentimental than political motives, say Indian officials, the first team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) went to Angkor to prepare for restoration as early as in 1980, just a year after the genocidal Khmer Rouge had been routed by a Vietnamese invasion. Actual restoration, however, began only in 1986 and continued for seven dry seasons. But in May 1993—just before the UN-sponsored elections that ushered in the present coalition government—the ASI team withdrew amid a flurry of allegations in the Western media that it had damaged monuments...

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