Ta Prohm Temple Complex, the Atmospheric Temple at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

by Maritravel

Ta Phrom Temple at Angkor Wat is where nature has resumed its hold over the Temples and buildings that once represented the Khmer Kingdom in all its glory.

Ta Phrom Temple is one of the most romantic temples in the Angkor site. One cannot help but give a small inward cheer when one sees nature resuming its hold over the ground and temples that once dominated the site. The snake-like roots writhe and dig deep into statues and walls, and lanaii like fronds hang from huge trees.. It is a place loaded with emotion where the forest is holding on to its own by protecting or destroying the buildings that once represented the Khmer Kingdom

Trees Reclaim Ancient Buildings at Ta Prohm, Cambodia
Trees Reclaim Ancient Buildings at Ta...
Mari Nicholson

Ta Prohm left Undisturbed for centuries.

Unlike most temples in the Angkor complex, Ta Prohm has been left undisturbed, much as it was when first found: the conservation of Angkor saved the main monuments but didn’t remove the trees and the roots which had invaded. The current structure dates from 1186 A.D., was one of the largest of the temples  and is a product of the Khmer culture.  It was built by Jayavarman VII in honour of his family and it is recorded that the area was home to more than 12,500 people, including over 600 dancers.  It was a considerably rich temple with gold, pearls and silks decorating the walls of the rooms.  After the fall of the Khmer empire in the 17th century the temple was abandoned for centuries. 

 

Nature's Revenge at Ta Prohm, Cambodia
Nature's Revenge at Ta Prohm, Cambodia
Mari Nicholson

Discovery of Ta Prohm by the French

In the late 19th century Ta Prohm was discovered by French and fortunately for today’s visitors they decided not to do a full-scale restoration of the temple. This was partly because giant trees, such as ficus and silk trees, were so merged with the ancient buildings and walls that they seemed as one.  We now see this unique complex in a somewhat similar state to what it was when originally discovered.  Much later it was decided that Ta Prohm would be left “as a concession to the taste for the picturesque” as it it had merged well with the jungle.   Work has had to be done however, to stabilize the ruins.

Clinging on at Ta Prohm
Clinging on at Ta Prohm
Mari Nicholson

Lara Croft - Tomb Raider. Scenes shot at Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm is known to many who have not travelled to Cambodia and visited Angkor Wat and many of these images will be familiar to them.   The reason? Some of the most impressive scenes in the famous blockbuster film Lara Croft - Tomb Raider, were created in and among the ruins.

Having undergone minimal restoration, the stone pillars and carvings intertwining with massive tree roots and jungle in this stunning temple complex proved the perfect setting for the block-buster.

Now let the images talk for themselves.

 

Rooting for Life
Rooting for Life
Mari Nicholson
Tree Roots at Ta Prohm
Tree Roots at Ta Prohm
Mari Nicholson
Roots Supporting Ruins at Ta Prohm
Roots Supporting Ruins at Ta Prohm
Mari Nicholson
Ta Prohm, Cambodia
Ta Prohm, Cambodia
Mari Nicholson
Updated: 07/28/2013, Maritravel
 
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Maritravel on 07/29/2013

Exactly. I spent five days there and felt that I had barely covered it. Wonderful atmospheric place.

John on 07/29/2013

Indeed the whole of the Angkor Wat site is a world treasure that travellers to the region should spend more than a day or two exporing. Some fantastic smaller ruins that are worthwhile visiting and almost devoid of tourists.

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