Ta Prohm is one of my favorite temples at Angkor Wat. It is one of the few temples being left partially in its jungle-covered natural state, making it very unique. It is great to explore the temple's crumbling passageways, overgrown exteriors, and to view the trees strangling the top and sides of the temple.
Completed around 1186 AD, Ta Phrom was built by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. At its peak, some 12,500 people lived within the temple walls, including 18 high priests.
Many images of Ta Phrom were used in the move Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Nature runneth over human endeavor.
Gradually, languidly, over the hand carved stones the Bayon tree clings firmly to the temple.
It is a magnificent site. Tree kings posing majestically, hovering above the humans who stand transfixed. Such royalty does not bow to us, but to God.
Amidst the calamity that consistently mars human history, these tree kings symbolically reclaim their inheritance: earth.
Ta Prohm is the temple that was chosen to be left in its natural state, to show tourists how most of the temples are discovered in the 19th century. Complete with tree roots intertwined among the ruins, collapsed walls supported by wooden beams, heaps of rubble, it makes you feel like you are really walking through an undiscovered sacred site.
The main attraction is of course getting the quintessential shot with the huge tree root. We tried waiting out for the crowd to clear. But to no avail, the crowd is constant. So get your shot quick and move on to explore the many more photography good spots. We didn't get a guide but a local volunteered to bring us around the temple to get some great shots away from the crowd. But be prepared for him to demand US$5 from you. Not a lot if you are with a small group to get some good shots without having tourists in your photograph. It includes getting a shot a distance away from the popular tree root spot where you can just take the root itself without the annoying pop of heads below.
Get away from the inevitable tourist crowd and walk the unbeaten route to enjoy some solitude among the mysterious setting of ruins.
I arrived at Ta Phrom at the 12.5km mark. The front entrance was being reconstructed.
Ta Phrom is one of the most fascinating temples. I went back to explore Ta Phrom on the next day after the AWIHM. I think I spend around 2 hours there.
It was built by Jayavarman VII and dedicated to his mother (Aw....How sweet!).
Ta Phrom will be forever known as the temple where Angelina Jolie filmed Lara Croft - Tomb Raider movie. It has a romantic atmosphere with opportunities to explore, many hidden corners, beautiful figures of Devatas, reliefs of Naga on the surrounding walls and silk-cotton trees entwined among ruins.
Apart from the huge strangling roots of the trees, I discovered two interesting finds from Ta Phrom.
1) There is a chamber where if you thump your chest, you will hear the sound resonate loudly in the chamber. It is like a surround THX Dolby effect. Strangely, it doesn’t work in other chambers.
2) I found a dinosaur, specifically a Stegosaurus carved onto the corner of a wall. I was not surprised to see elephant, buffalo, bird, serpent…but a dinosaur? Strange but true. I have picture to prove it. (Click on “4 more photos”)
Ta Prohm is quite rightly another worthy temple to visit and one of the better known recently thanks to the movie Tomb Raider. The beauty of this temple lies in the decision not to try and reclaim it fully from the jungle. The trees growing out of the structure lend it a special atmosphere and the shadows they cast give photographers plenty of opportunities to try out different angles and get a great picture even if you have to pick your moment to avoid capturing anyone in the frame.
One of my unexpected and enjoyable experiences at Ta Prohm was chancing upon this young artist, who had travelled from Battambang. He had a small folio of pictures from variuos parts of Angkor Wat. However, I wanted the one he was still working on - 5 days work - asking price US$35! He was painting a beautiful watercolour scene inside the temple, capturing the knarled roots covering the walls of the temple. Just beautiful.
Agreed on the price - no money exchanged - and, as agreed, he turned up at our guesthouse with the painting - gave him US$40 - and we was a happy chappy. I got a beautiful painting of one of my most favourite places - an original no less!
TA Prohm housed the deity Prajnaparamita, the "perfection of wisdom." It was consecrated in 1186. Like many Khmer kings, Jayavarman had it carved in the likeness of his mother. The Prajnaparamita statue was surrounded by 260 lesser divinities, housed in their own sanctuaries. Interestingly, the temple was also the headquarters of a vast hospital network created by the good king. From TA Prohm, supplies filtered out to 102 hospitals located throughout the empire. The Khmer kings seem to have taken the Buddha's call to mercy into their own hands.
The overgrowth and construction flaws, as well as the occasional genius in relief art, makes Ta Prom a visitor's favorite. Our driver took the opportunity here to leave the car and stroll with us. TA Prohm was built during the reign of Jayavarman VII, a great king who reconquered the Khmer empire from Cham invaders in the years 1177-1181, and so it contemporary with the city monastery, Preah Khan. The hopelessness of reconstruction, at least for the next few generations, is evident in the invasion of tree roots that if removed would cause complete collapse. The problem has its origins though in a construction flaw of the Khmer architects. There is a tendency for architects to build blocks in vertical, rather than staggered stacks. Thus, roots descend and drive a wedge into an entire wall. For the modern visitor though, these are a thing of beauty. I found scattered here and there many scattered fragments of beautiful reliefs. In 1997, cattle grazed in the courtyards.
Ta Prohm is another unique temple to go to in Cambodia. The ambiance has been maintained, since the trees that were growing above the temple roofs were not cut off. Since these live trees provide shade, it will be cooler here compared to the other temples. Going to the place in the morning (nearing noon) won't be a problem (except only if you prefer less tourists, then go early morning). This temple has been featured in the movie Tomb Raider.
Another must see temple in the Angkor park. Definitely not to be missed. It's best to visit in the morning, when the sun is just coming out among the trees. This is also the temple where the 1st Tomb Raider movie shots some of their scenes.
Ta Prohm has been pretty much left to be swallowed by the jungle, with the roots all over the temple structures, I learn not to underestimate the awesome power of mother nature. The best root formation is in the inside of the eastermost pavilion of the central enclosure.
Ta Prohm is interesting for a different reason than the Bayon. Also built by King Jayavarman VII, Ta Prohm has been left pretty much the way the French "discovered" it a century and a half ago. The way trees -- or tree roots -- enfold many of its structures suggests that the last living things on planet earth, or the first life to reemerge, will no doubt be vegetable.
If you are a video game freak like I am and you love Lara Croft, it is very cool to go through Ta Phrom and imagine you are Lara with guns a blazing. I even wore braided pigtails when I visited in lieu of her. Now enough of the geeky stuff, Ta Phrom was one of the neatest temples to visit at Angkor because it hasn't been renovated. The whole purpose of this temple is to keep it looking how it did when it was first discovered centuries ago. As you walk by the many walls you will see that alot of the structure is held up by tree branches and roots. You can just imagine as you walk through the halls how the person who discovered this miraculous structure must have felt. Since most of this temple is shaded, it is one of the temples that may be best visited during the midday to escape from the Cambodian sun. Since it is so breathtaking, as you probably can see from my photos, it tends to get overrun by tourists.
Ta Prohm was built around 1186 by that King Jayavarman VII dude. It is best known as the temple where strangler fig trees have been left intertwined with the stonework, much as it was uncovered from the jungle.
Ta Prohm is also the only place where an inscription indicates information about the inhabitants. It indicates that close to 80,000 people wree required to maintain or attend the temple.
Another highlight of this place is that you often can find the most famous person in Cambodia here. That's right, it's the guy on the front cover of the Cambodia Lonely Planet guidebook. He is willing to pose for photos but you really should buy one of his trinkets.
Ta Prohm is easily the place that gives you the most Indiana Jones type feeling of exploring a temple. This is probably because it was used in the filming of the first Tomb Raider movie.
This was my favourite temple of the city of Angkor. It was built by King Jayavarman the 7th in honor of his mother. The whole temple is covered by huge roots, that give a special look to the place. Used as a set in a lot of films, is a must in Angkor.
Fast becoming one of the most popular of Angkor temples, Ta Phrom is a photographer’s paradise. Unlike many of Angkor’s ruins, Ta Phrom has been left mostly to nature’s whims and nowhere is this power more evident than in the massive trees’ stranglehold on many of the temple’s walls. It is typical to get there around midday due primarily to its location on the circuit as well as its dense jungle setting. It is easier to get photos at that time of day and the place is accordingly packed. We did this on our first visit and took lots of photos but decided to come here for sunrise on our last morning. We were very glad we did despite our driver’s insistence it was a waste of time due to the bad light there at that hour. We got there in total darkness and though it was admittedly spooky entering the gloomy ruins entirely on our own, we found a place to sit and immerse ourselves in the uproar of the early morning jungle rumble. A mad chirping of assorted birds fought mightily against an incessant buzz of insects that all but engulfed us. All too soon, the darkness we initially feared came to a fleeting end and the wave of sound subsided to a normal level as we gained use of our other senses and saw the first strains of light glimmer through the dense vegetation. We wandered around the mysterious setting entirely on our own; the solitude was a worthy tradeoff for the lack of photographic light. We managed to capture a few ominous shots just before the first visitors came and unexpectedly found us taking our leave.