Hindu temple gets World Heritage Site status

posted under by NSmurthy
A Hindu temple in Cambodia, two historic Malaysian trading towns and an early agricultural site from Papua New Guinea were added to UNESCO's World Heritage List yesterday. The new entrants from Asia on the list are the 11th century Preah Vihear temple site, perched on a mountaintop on the Thai-Cambodia border; the cities of the Straits of Malacca, Melaka and George Town in Malaysia, and the Kuk Early Agricultural Site in Papua New Guinea, marking the country's first entry on the list.

Last week, Cambodia deployed riot police to protect the Thai embassy for fear that a border dispute over the temple could spark violent protests. The move came after Thailand suspended its endorsement of Cambodia's bid for the UN cultural agency UNESCO to grant the long-disputed Preah Vihear temple World Heritage status.

The ruins of the Hindu temple are the most important example of ancient Khmer architecture outside of Cambodia's famed Angkor Vat, and have weathered centuries of wars and duelling territorial claims with Thailand. Built to honour the Hindu god Shiva, Preah Vihear stretches dramatically up to a cliff-top in the Dangrek mountain range. To date, 862 sites in more than 140 countries have been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.