The abbot behind the Sihanakhon complex’s construction at Wat Phu Man Fah in Buriram’s Nang Rong district denied claims that he is copying Cambodia’s national heritage site of Angkor Wat.
On Wednesday, officials inspected the temple complex after Cambodians criticized the project through social media.
Cambodians referred to it as an attempt to build a second Angkor Wat while using the hashtags #SaveAngkorWat and #Angkorwatbelongtokhmer to oppose the new landmark under construction in the northeastern Thai province.
According to the Khmer Times, the reactions prompted the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to investigate the issue.
However, the temple abbot Somsak Sungwarajitto rejected the suggestion that his project was a replica of Angkor Wat and told the visiting delegation led by provincial cultural office, Khattiya Chaimanee, that it was born of his vision and imagination.
The abbot stated the complex was being erected as a religious attraction to honor his native district.
Ms. Khattiya said after inspection that the complex, which includes several sandstone stupas and other structures, was inspired by a combination of several famous sites. Some are Prasart Hin Phanom Rung in Buri Ram, Prasart Hin Phimai in Nakhon Ratchasima and Borobudur in Central Java, Indonesia.
Later, the Cambodian ministry issued a statement confirming that the project did not duplicate the entire Angkor Wat. But Phnom Penh was monitoring it anyway, it added.
“It is built according to the layout itself and designed according to the architecture of some of the temples in the area,” the statement read.