Conservation and Preservation of Ashram Maha Russey Temple, Sambor Prei Kuk, Kampong Thom Province

On the occasion of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) meeting on Angkor Wat a memorandum of Understanding was signed by H.E. Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Cambodia, with H.E. Phann Nady, General Director, National Authority for Sambor Prei Kuk, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Royal Government of Cambodia, on 25 March 2022, for a project on “Conservation and Preservation of Ashram Maha Russey Temple, Sambor Prei Kuk, Kampong Thom Province, Cambodia”. The temple is a UNESCO world heritage site in Cambodia, a symbol of Hindu architecture and connected with Lord Shiva. The temple was constructed in the middle of the 7th century during the period of king Isanavarman I.

The MoU signing ceremony was graced by H. E. Dr. Phoeurng Sackona, Hon’ble Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, Royal Government of Cambodia and Chairman of the APSARA Authority, Co-Chairman from France and Japan, distinguished experts, and delegates from various countries.

This initiative is a part of the Government of India’s Quick Impact Project (QIP) Scheme under the framework of the Mekong Ganga Cooperation. The government of India cooperates with the Royal Government of Cambodia on many grant assistance programs that contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of the people of Cambodia.  Under QIP Scheme, the Government of India implements 10 projects every year in Cambodia by providing funding of up to USD 50,000 each per project.

Since 2015-16, the Government of India has approved 46 projects in the fields of IT, agriculture, health, sanitation, women’s empowerment, child welfare, rural development, social infrastructure (including capacity building), environment, etc.  Out of 46 projects, 21 projects have already been completed and the remaining 25 projects are at various stages of execution. These projects have received an overwhelming response and created a distinct and visible impact not only among the beneficiaries but also in the larger community.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Phann Nady, thanked the Government and the Embassy of India for providing grants for this project that would create a source of livelihood for the local community residing in Kampong Thorn Province. The project will add to the skills of the local community who would be hired and trained for work in the Sambor Prei Kuk complex.

While expressing her appreciation for the signing of the MoU, H.E. Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Ambassador of India, stated that this project would be completed in one year. Once completed, this will not only increase the footfall of tourists in this area but would also strengthen the cultural relations between the two countries.  She stressed the positive impact of QIP projects on the enhancement of the overall bilateral relationship and goodwill between the people of India and Cambodia. This year, the focus of QIPs will be on health, tourism development, education-digital education with a particular focus on women’s literacy. She also added that it is her chief endeavor to support projects, which will have a direct impact on the lives of people who are marginalized and below the poverty line, women and children in particular.

Ambassador also made a statement in ICC Angkor Wat on Wat Raja Bo Pagoda where Ramayana mural paintings depict Indian cultural impact on Cambodian society. Ambassador offered India’s support to work together for the conservation and preservation of the murals.

Source: India in Cambodia (Embassy of India, Phnom Penh)