Angkor Wat Restoration Project (1986-93)
In response to an appeal by the Cambodian government to the world community to come forward to save the famous Angkor Wat Temple, Government of India responded by sending experts from the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) under a bilateral agreement signed in 1986. The conservation programme was an endeavour spread over seven years during which various teams of the ASI worked during various seasons from 1986 to 1993. The Angkor Wat conservation project, financed by the Ministry of External Affairs, was the single largest project ever undertaken by India under its ITEC programme in any country.
The cost of India’s participation in the Angkor Wat project is estimated at US$ 4 million (the actual contribution when accounted for at international rates prescribed by the UNESCO would be at least 10 fold). The total man-days spent by the ASI experts at the site totaled over 20,000.
Ta Prohm Restoration Project (2003 onwards)
On Cambodia’s request, India has taken up Restoration of Ta Prohm temple in Siem Reap by ASI, for which funds are being provided under ITEC programme of MEA. ASI team commenced work in Siem Reap in Dec. 2003. Technical teams from IIT, Chennai, and Water and Power Consultancy Services Limited (WAPCOS) and Forest Research Institute of India have provided technical assistance to ASI in this project which is expected to run till 2014. In early October 2011, two large Buddha statues (sitting in lotus position) were discovered during excavation in the Hall of Dancers. Both figures, made of sand stone and 2.05 meters and 1.1 meters in heights, are missing their heads. The statues are believed to date from the 12th century and the largest Angkorian-era Buddha statues to be discovered since the Khmer Rouge regime. On March 19, 2012, parts of a gold crown dated 11-12 century was also discovered from the same Hall of Dancers.
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