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Cambodia Hindu Temple Preah Vihear Added to UNESCO World Heritage List

The 11th century Preah Vihear Temple located on a mountaintop on the Cambodia-Thailand border was included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List on July 7, 2008. Preah Vihear Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and dates back to the first half of the 11th century AD. Unfortunately, there is an ongoing dispute regarding the ownership of the temple between Cambodia and Thailand.

Although the temple is situated in Cambodia, the main entrance lies at the foot of a mountain in Thailand. In 1962, the World Court had ruled that the temple belonged to Cambodia. But successive Thailand governments did not agree to this ruling as public opinion in the country was against acceding the ownership of the temple to Cambodia.

Forget the political reasons; the Preah Vihear Temple has all the qualities needed to be part of the UNESCO World Heritage List

The World Heritage Committee quoted the following reasons for making the temple part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage:

The site is exceptional for three reasons:

  • its natural situation on a promontory, with sheer cliffs overlooking a vast plain and mountain range;
  • the quality of its architecture adapted to the natural environment and religious function of the temple; and,
  • finally, the exceptional quality of the carved stone ornamentation of the temple.

You can read about the other Hindu Temples in UNESCO World Heritage List here.