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Angkor Wat temple replica's foundation-laying begins in India

An even bigger replica of Cambodia's Angkor Wat, the world's largest temple, is being built in Bihar, India.
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Tourists walk on the grounds of the Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Construction has begun on a replica in India that will be even taller than the original, which was built in the 12th century and is currently the world's tallest religious structure. (Paula Bronstein/AFP/Getty Images)

Angkor Wat is getting even bigger.

Cambodia's famed 12th century temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest religious structure in the world, is being replicated on an even larger scale by the Mahavir Mandir trust in Bihar, India, the International Business Times reported.

A foundation-laying ceremony for the $20 million replica project, which will be called the Virat Angkor Wat Ram temple, was held Monday to coincide with Bihar's centennial celebrations, BBC News reported. Construction of the new temple will take about 10 years, builders estimated. 

"It will be a replica of Angkor Wat but the temple will be slightly taller than the original,'' Kishore Kunal, chairman of the Bihar Mahavir Mandir Trust, told the Australian. Kunal said the plan was to "recreate Angkor Wat's grandeur and splendor" in the town of Hajipur, near the Bihar state capital of Patna.

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"The selected site for construction of the temple has mythological significance as it is believed that the deities Ram, Lakshman and Vishvamitra had visited the village and were welcomed by King Sumati of the Vaishali kingdom," Kunal told the Hindustan Times.

The replica will be 222 feet high and have five stories and five shikhars, or rising towers, just like its Cambodian original, the Australian reported. However, the added height will make it the world's largest Hindu temple, BBC reported. 

The main temple of Cambodia's Angkor Wat was originally Hindu, but was later used for Buddhist worship, according to BBC. 

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