Ta Prohm – The Ruined Temple in Cambodia

A fascinating journey to the Kingdom of Wonder can make your watch turn back to hundred years ago thanks to the Angkor Complex – one of the famous symbols in Cambodia. These unique cult buildings not only bring the religious, historic values but typical architecture of Khmer’s civilization as well. Among these temples, Ta Prohm is a great example for the "battle" between nature and man’s art.

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Ta Prohm was built in the reign of Jayavarman VII to dedicate to Prajnaparamita (the perfection of wisdom) which was modeled on Jayavarman’s mother. At first, it was known as Rajavihara – Monastery of the King instead of Ta Prohm we know today. According to the inscription on the stele, around 80,000 people in which more than 2700 officials and 615 dancers lived in and around the temple. Moreover, the temple was considered as the health centre for 102 hospitals around the land of Khmer Empire. Like Angkor Wat when Khmer Empire felled, Ta Prohm was also ignored for many years. It was rediscover in the status of being swollen in the jungle by an European explorer and this feature made it become one of the most special temples which can be seen as the evidence to the power of nature. 

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Ta Prohm is a temple of towers bound by massive roots of huge trees. This impressive temple is surrounded by laterite wall and comprises 260 statues of gods, 39 towers, courtyards and narrow corridors leading to the centre of monument. Because of being abandoned and the effect of the war in the past, archaeologist used to have plan to restore Ta Prohm temple, however, the big root trees merged into the wall of towers and temple partly prevented it. Therefore, if you come to visit this attraction, you can get a genuine experience of adventure since the temple is kept in the state it was rediscovered in the mid 19 century.

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Ta Prohm can be on the top list must-see temples in Angkor complex due to its stunning structure and the nature’s support. Built by a Khmer King, the temple is really a typical Khmer’s style building. In Ta Prohm temple, the central sanctuary was surrounded by five rectangular walls. The outer wall covered an area of 650,000 square meters. We can found a gopura (entrance gate) which was decorated with the face of Lokeshvare in each direction of the rectangular walls. The Eastern gopura led to a terrace ornamented with Lions and Naga statues and the Hall of Fire where was considered as the stop for pilgrims when they came to visit the temple.

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The art galleries can be seen in the other inner enclosure. Moving deeper to the Eastern gate of the next wall, we can easy to contemplate the Buddhist scenes carved on the wall. Covering 100 meters, the 4th enclosure includes a moat, 93 small cells for Buddhist monk and the “Hall of Dancers” which was decorated by carving the beautiful dancers performing the traditional dance – apsaras.

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Inside the third enclosure are some courtyards, small sanctuaries, and the sculpture of Buddhist. Moreover, in the North and the South gate of the enclosure, we have a chance to visit the satellite temples and a library which the door opened to the west. 

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Taking a long walk and pass through other enclosures, we can reach to the central sanctuary. It was remarked with a tower at each of its corners. Like some other sculptures in the temple, some towers were destroyed not only by war but the power of nature also. The massive roots of fig trees rose up through the stone and temple walls creating the stunning beauty between the nature and architecture. When the man overwhelmed the nature with their art, the nature caused its effect on the man-made art later. Thus, nowadays we can see the temple lie under the large brach trees and the big roots seem to protect and keep the shape of the temple.

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With the historic and art value, the peace and quiet temple was choose to be come one of the settings for the film Lara Croft: Tom Raider with a lot of stunning scenes. 

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