Angkor Wat replica to be built in India
India tours in years to come could include a visit to the world's largest Hindu temple.
It has been announced that plans are underway to build a complete replica of Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple in India's eastern state of Bihar.
The new version of the 12th century temple will, however, be slightly bigger than the original, with towers soaring to 222ft high, making it the biggest Hindu religious structure anywhere in the world.
According to the BBC, the project, which is being overseen by the Mahavir Mandir Trust, will cost $20 million (£12.5 million) and take ten years to complete.
A foundation-laying ceremony for the temple has been held 16 miles from Bihar's capital Patna, on the banks of the Ganges.
The original temple at Angkor, which is now an Unesco World Heritage Site, was built by a Hindu king from a dynasty linked to southern India and was dedicated to Vishnu. However, it later became used as a Buddhist place of worship.
Bihar's replica, which will be named the Virat Angkor Wat Ram Mandir, will have the god Ram as the main deity, who according to legend once crossed the Ganges at the very spot where the temple dedicated to him will be constructed.
"It will be the world's largest Hindu temple … bigger in size, shape and height than the Angkor Wat of Cambodia," the trust's secretary Acharya Kishore Kunal told the BBC.
"It will be known as Virat Angkor Wat Ram temple but will also house other Hindu deities like Radha-Krishna, Shiv-Parvati, Ganesh, Surya and ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
"We'll make this temple the pride of the Hindu temples in the world and I've started it on the occasion of the 100th year of Bihar state's foundation."
However, whether the new version of Angkor Wat will become as popular among those travelling around Asia as the original, which saw 206,000 visitors in January 2012 alone, remains to be seen.