Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm in Siem Reap
When the temples of Angkor were abandoned by the kings who built them, the jungle took firm hold of Ta Prohm. This Buddhist monastery, built in 1186 by King Jayavarman VII for his mother, today looks much like it did when it was uncovered in the 20th century. In eerie fashion, giant trees shoot through the tops of structures, while thick vines split walls in two.
Ta Prohm is located approximately one kilometer east of Angkor Thom and on the southern edge of the East Baray near Tonle Bati, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found. Huge trees, reminiscent of ancient redwoods and oaks, are blended into the walls, and rocks hugging the giant roots gives the temple a surreal appearance. 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.
After the fall of the Khmer empire in the 15th century, the temple of Ta Prohm was abandoned and neglected for centuries. When the effort to conserve and restore the temples of Angkor began in the early 20th century, it was decided that Ta Prohm would be left largely as it had been found, as a “concession to the general taste for the picturesque.”
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.
Keep an eye out for a Sanskrit inscription in the stone of the complex, which details that the temple once employed 18 priests, 2,740 officials, 2,202 assistants and 615 dancers, all supported by 3,140 villages.