Varanasi: India is restoring the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia and other temples around the world. This is a part of the cultural diplomacy of Narendra Modi government. This diplomacy is centred around restoring India’s rich traditions for the benefit of the world, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said.
Angkor Wat complex is the largest Hindu temple throughout the world. It is dedicated to lord Vishnu.
Jaishankar, who is on a two-day tour of Varanasi, was addressing an event as part of “Kashi Tamil Sangamam” on “Contribution of temples to society and nation building.”
He said that the development going on in Ayodhya is very close to the heart of people of Korea. This is because there is a very special connection between Ayodhya and Korea.
Temples in Middle East
Jaishankar said India is also building a temple in UAE and received an approval to build a temple in Bahrain. The Indian government also has done a lot of work in Vietnam, he added.
“Our people, when they left India, established the Shrinath ji temple in Bahrain,” he said.
Recalling his days as India’s ambassador to China, Jaishankar said he has seen remnants of Hindu temples on the east coast of the Dragon country.
He also informed that PM Modi has pledged Rs 200 crore to build a Ramayan Circuit into Nepal, so that people of India will have an opportunity to visit its heritage in close quarters.
The Modi government also restored the Thiruketheeswaram Temple in Sri Lanka’s Mannar. The temple was closed for 12 years due to the conflict going on in Sri Lanka, Jaishankar said.
Thiruketheeswaram Temple is one of the five sacred Ishwarams dedicated to Lord Shiva. Shaivites throughout the subcontinent venerate it as their holy place. The temple is testimony to the most difficult period in the history of Sri Lanka. The authorities permitted to reopen it after 12 years in 2002.
Jaishankar also said that the earthquake in 2015 had damaged many temples in Nepal. Many of these were old temples. “We have committed USD 50 million for restoration of cultural heritage in Nepal.
Why is the Modi government restoring temples across the globe?
Restoring Angkor Wat is a part of cultural diplomacy of the Modi government. Modi has developed this policy with India’s rich traditions at its centre. This tradition is universal and for the benefit of the world, Jaishankar said.
Culture expresses global rebalancing as much as politics and economics does. A truly democratic and pluralistic world order must see a full expression of India’s heritage, abroad as much as at home, he said in a tweet.
Throwing light on rebalancing, he said, “Yesterday I spoke at the Kashi Hindu Vishwavidyalaya about rebalancing. How the world is no longer completely western! The world today has many cultures, many societies and many people.
“I spoke about political rebalancing which started after independence and economic rebalancing. But rebalancing will only happen if there is cultural rebalancing. Our faith, our belief, our culture must get recognition, must get its due place in the rest of the world. That is our commitment to all of you.”
Temples are keepers of our culture and history. They are centres of knowledge and promoters of arts and crafts, he said. Angkor Wat is one such example.
“The cultural diplomacy of the Modi Government is focused on creating, rebuilding and restoring our rich traditions for the benefit of the entire world. This is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” Jaishankar said.