Ta Prohm

Trip Start Dec 19, 2012
Trip End Jan 13, 2013

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Flag of Cambodia  , Khétt Siĕm Réab,
Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ta Prohm is the modern name of a temple at Angkor. Built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and originally called Rajavihara.

Founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most popular temples with visitors.

UNESCO inscribed Ta Prohm on the World Heritage List in 1992. Today, it is one of the most visited complexes in Cambodia's Angkor region. The conservation and restoration of Ta Prohm is a partnership project of the Archaeological Survey of India and the APSARA (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap).

The trees growing out of the ruins are perhaps the most distinctive feature of Ta Prohm, and "have prompted more writers to descriptive excess than any other feature of Angkor."

Two species predominate, larger is either the silk-cotton tree or thitpok and the smaller is either the strangler fig or Gold Apple. Indulging in what might be regarded as "descriptive excess," Angkor scholar Maurice Glaize observed, "On every side, in fantastic over-scale, the trunks of the silk-cotton trees soar skywards under a shadowy green canopy, their long spreading skirts trailing the ground and their endless roots coiling more like reptiles than plants."

As of 2003, however, it seems Archaeological Survey of India has undertaken a more aggressive approach to restoration. All the plants and shrubs have been cleared from the site and some of trees are also getting removed. A crane has been erected and a large amount of building work is underway to restore the temple, with much of the work seemingly just rebuilding the temple from scratch as at other sites. Wooden walkways, platforms, and roped railings have been put in place around the site which now block some of the previously famous postcard photo opportunities.

The temple of Ta Prohm was used as a location in the film Tomb Raider. Although the film took visual liberties with other Angkorian temples, its scenes of Ta Prohm were quite faithful to the temple's actual appearance, and made use of its eerie qualities. Mr Wikipedia.

To me on reflection this would be my first equal favourite temple. I can usually tell by the number of photos that I take! I suppose that I was conditioned to the brochure and post card views but as mentioned above with the restoration, cranes and roped off areas, it has lost only a little bit of the mystery that I had imagined it to be. I was looking for those "famous" shots of the trees strangling or framing the faces but now realised where they were.

Yes, this place has been swallowed by the jungle.

Plus being here so early before the crowds and with that beautiful morning light made it a wonderful start of today’s small circuit. Thanks Pissa.

As usual I will let the following photos do the talking ... this is more than less the order that we wandered through this mystical place. Remember that you can always "click" onto a photo to open it and read the signs / writing or see the picture even larger.

At the end was a breakfast stop.

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