Unlike most of the temples of Angkor, Ta Prohm has been largely left to the clutches of the living jungle. With its dynamic interaction between nature and man-made art, this atmospheric temple is a favorite for many – who can’t help but feel a little like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft (which was filmed here) as they pick through the rubble.
Construction on Ta Prohm began in 1186 AD. Originally known as Rajavihara (Monastery of the King), Ta Prohm was a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of King Jayavarman VII.
A rare inscription at Ta Prohm provides statistics on the temple’s workers. Allowing for some exaggeration to honor the king, the inscription’s report of around 80,000 workers, including 2700 officials and 615 dancers, is still astounding.
Sadly, Ta Prohm was looted quite heavily in recent years due to its relative isolation, and many of its ancient stone reliquaries have been lost.
Ta Prohm is extensively ruined, but you can still explore numerous towers, close courtyards and narrow corridors, discovering hidden gems of stone reliefs beneath the encroaching foliage. Many of the corridors are impassible, thanks to the jumbled piles of carved stone blocks that clog their interiors.
There are 39 towers at Ta Prohm, which are connected by numerous galleries. Visitors are no longer permitted to climb onto the crumbling galleries, due to the potential damage to both temple and visitor.
The exterior wall of the compound is 1km by 600m (1/2 mile by 1,969 feet) and the entrance gates have the classic Jayavarman face. Most visitors enter from the west gate, and some drivers will agree to pick you up on the other side. A line of open-air eateries is just outside the main entrance to Ta Prohm, popular places for a snack or lunch.
Source and photos : Sacred Destination