Friday, May 20, 2016

Cambodian Temple: Ta Prohm

One of the most interesting temples – and a favorite of tourists – is known as the “jungle temple.” Its proper name is Ta Prohm (pronunciation: prasat taprohm). Ta Prohm is the modern name of the temple at Angkor, Siem Reap Province of Cambodia, built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and originally called Rajavihara.  It is located approximately one kilometer east of Angkor Thom. Originally it was a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. Our guide pointed out a number of areas referred to as libraries.

The legend is that the temple was built by Ta Prohm. Supposedly, King Jayavarman II was traveling through Tonle Bati and fell in love with a fisherman’s beautiful daughter. He spent three months with her before moving on. However, she was pregnant so upon leaving, the king gave her a ring with instructions to send the child with the ring to the Ankgor and he would educate the child.
When Prohm, her son, presented the ring, he was welcomed into his father’s palace and given an education. Later Prohm was sent back to govern the Takeo province where he built the temple and named it after himself. He also built one for his mother, the Yeay Peau Temple.

The reason this temple is so famous is that it has been destroyed by several large trees that have been growing up through it over hundreds of years. It almost has an eerie feeling to it when you see the huge trunks and roots winding in and out of the blocks of stone. For years, the jungle had its way with Ta Prohm.
Today, much of the underbrush has been cleared away, but the trees remain. It is unlikely that this temple will be rebuilt. The foundation is very unstable due to the root growth and it is such an attraction the way it is that it will remain as we saw it. Although, some work is being done to shore up walls and clear out fallen blocks.
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. In 1992, UNESCO inscribed Ta Prohm on the World Heritage List.

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).
For this particular temple, the photos tell more story than documentation provides. It was an interesting one to visit.



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