Welcoming International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision on demilitarizing Preah Vihear Hindu temple on Thailand-Cambodia border, Reno based Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has urged international organizations to urgently undertake its restoration work.
ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations established in 1945, in its decision at Hague (Netherlands) on July 18, reportedly found out that both Parties (Cambodia and Thailand) must immediately withdraw their military personnel currently present in the provisional demilitarized zone defined by it, and refrain from any military presence within that zone and from any armed activity directed at that zone, to ensure that no irreparable damage was caused. There were skirmishes between both countries in the earlier part of the year reportedly causing damage to this Shiva temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Reno today, said that demilitarization of the temple area would probably avoid the risk of further damage to the ancient Hindu shrine. He stressed that international community, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) should immediately provide funding and manpower for restoring this Lord Shiva temple back to its original shape. These organizations should not shy away to shoulder their responsibility of saving the important heritage of the world and respecting the feelings of Hindus worldwide, Zed added.
Besides temple repairs, some infrastructure in the area should also be provided for devotees and other visitors, Rajan Zed stated.
Zed pointed out that this landmark age-old and revered Hindu temple complex in Preah Vihear province of Cambodia, about 245 kilometers north of Phnom Penh, was important to Hindu heritage and must be preserved to pass it on to the future generations. Damage and deterioration of 11th century Shiva temple was shocking and hurtful to the Hindu community world over. Lord Shiva, one of the major deities in Hinduism forming great triad with Brahma and Vishnu, was focus of worship of the Hindus, and it was important for them that Preah Vihear Hindu Shiva temple be protected and restored. It was moral duty of the world to keep it intact for the coming generations, Zed stressed.
Known as Preah Vihear in Cambodia and Khao Phra Viharn in Thailand, this remote temple had been a source of tension for generations. Preah Vihear was said to even predate Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex by about 100 years and its stunning setting made it finest of all the ruins left from the mighty Khmer civilization, Rajan Zed said.
Zed argued that world should not let this sacred site dedicated to Lord Shiva (situated where Preah Vihear province of northern Cambodia touched Sisaket province of eastern Thailand), whose history could be traced to 9th century when the hermitage was founded, be further damaged to advance political agendas of some.
Moreover, Temple of Preah Vihear, an outstanding masterpiece of Khmer architecture mostly created by Suryavarman I and Suryavarman II, was a unique architectural complex of a series of sanctuaries and was said to be exceptional for the quality of its architecture and carved stone ornamentation. It was reportedly dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva in his manifestations as Sikharesvara and Bhadresvara. It was also said to be marking representation of sacred Mount Meru, the abode of the gods, and showing a depiction of Churning of the Ocean, a Hindu scriptural episode, Rajan Zed said.
Cambodian Government’s National Committee for the World Heritage describes Preah Vihear as: The site serves as a sacred place worshipping to the Hindu god Shiva manifesting as Sikharesvara (the Lord of Peak) and his figures are depicted on pediments and lintels.