India to renovate 11th century Shiva Temple in Laos

Vientiane, Sept 10 (ANI): India has agreed to renovate the Vat Phou or Wat Phou temple complex in southern Laos as part of deepening cultural and historical ties which have existed between the two countries for more than 2000 years.

Wat Phou is a ruined Khmer temple complex in southern Laos. It is located at the base of Mount Phu Kao near the Mekong river in Champasak province. There was a temple on the site as early as the sixth century. The summit of Phu Kao is like Linga, the phallic symbol of Shiva, thus giving it the more popular name, Lingaparvat.

"It is an ongoing restoration project which started in 2009. The work restarts again after the end of rainy season in Lao. It will take seven years for completion of the project. It will also help us to understand common cultural heritage of Lao," Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Vijaya Latha Reddy.

The inscriptions found in the area suggest that the ancient city itself was founded around the middle of 5th century. The site is now a major centre of Theravada Buddhist worship.

In the 12 century, Wat Phou and Angkor Vat formed the axis of Khmer Empire which also were linked by a 200 km long ancient road between the two heritage sites.

The Archaeological survey of India team arrived in June 2009 at Vat Phou and conducted studies of foundations, drainage problems, super structural elements as well as did the documentation, recording, survey work etc. for the Northern Quadrangle of temple complex. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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