Cambodia Travel Guide

Ta Prohm

23

Nov
2021

Ta Prohm

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Perhaps the most evocative and mysterious of all the temple structures at Angkor, Ta Prohm, which means Ancestor of Brahma, was a wealthy Buddhist monastery built during King Jayavarman VII’s reign (r.1178–1220). During the Colonial period, the French started their  archaeological restoration of the temple, making a deliberate attempt to maintain the structure as they found it  by limiting restoration and cutting down little of the sur- rounding dense jungle. As a result, the temple buildings  remain smothered by the roots of giant banyan trees, preserving the atmosphere that 19th-century explorers must have experienced.

Waterfall Tree

Named for the cascading appearance of its roots down the  wall of the inner gallery, this strangler fig  tree has encompassed its host and dominates the temple’s masonry.

Face Tower

The four stone faces on Gopura 5 are believed to represent Jayavarman VII. Seen above the west entrance, they are reminiscent of the huge faces carved into the Bayon.

Dinosaur Carving

A narrow stone column in the complex has ornate circles that enclose various animal reliefs. One such carving depicts what seems to be a stegosaurus. No one  has been able to explain the presence of this mysterious carving.

Crocodile Tree

On the easternmost gopura of the central enclosure is the strangler fig known as the Crocodile Tree. Every year its roots spread further across the complex.

Tomb Raider Tree

This striking strangler fig enjoyed a moment of screen time as Angelina Jolie appeared from the doorway below it in one of the most dramatic scenes of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

Galleries, many of which are crumbling and not suitable for exploration, are linked by narrow passageways and in turn connect the prasats of the structure.

 

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