As it is a walk through Ta Prohm and there is no doubt this temple goes on and on with plenty of dramatic opportunities to photograph the jungle scenery taking over the temple. In fact the strangler vines were originally intended to be removed by the Indian government during the restorations (early 20th century) but they quickly discovered that by removing the vines the temples would crash.
The walk through Ta Prohm leaves you with the feeling of how important nature was to Khmer Kings and their priests, and whether it was Hindu or Buddhism, it really didn’t make much difference in the end. The idea of being remote was transcendental and it all comes together here in the early morning sunrise.
The anastylosis used have helped preserved the temples and with the support of countries all over the world, you have preserved some of the finest examples of Cambodian tradition. Today much of the renovation has been completed but there is always work to carry out.
Ta Prohm is accessed by entering the monument from the west and leaving from the east entrance. The jungle aura and strewn wreckage put back together leaves you with an immense feeling of the past. The light rises through the canopy of trees and the birds waking up sing to each other as we walk through the temple.
Inside this dense jungle the temple of Ta Prohm conjures up a raiders of the lost ark feel to it. The Banyan and Kapok trees are sprawling over the temples stones attaching to the walls and sitting a top the carvings, as if they are the kings ruling the fort. Their branches and tree trunks twist and turn, grabbing on, some very thin while others are massive with impressive like arm tentacles weaving in and out of the stones. The temple is daunting, it feels as if its haunted by a mystical natural charm you cannot forget; the air, sky and birds all make it an early morning breakfast delight.
Built from 1186 and originally known as Rajavihara (Monastery of the King), Ta Prohm was a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. It was built about mid-12th century to early 13th century (1186) by the King Jayavarman VII, the creator of some of the finest Buddhist architecture in Khmer.
Everywhere here around you nature dominates and is both strangling on the one hand, and on the other its forces are peaceful and nurturing. There is no doubt that Ta Prohm was the kingdom of the Trees, a unified place of significance. The most popular strangulation root is nicknamed the Crocodile Tree and for a good reason.
There exists a Sanskrit inscription on a Temple stone giving the full details of the temple. Ta Prohm was made up of 3,140 villages and 79,365 people maintained the temple including 18 great priests, 2,740 officials, 2,202 assistants and 615 dancers. Among the property belonging to the temple was a set of golden dishes weighing more than 500 kilograms, 35 diamonds, 40,620 pearls, 4,540 precious stones, 876 veils from China, 512 silk beds and 523 parasols. You can imagine the devastation and looting that has taken place here over the centuries.
Ta Prohm’s complex included 260 statues of gods, 39 towers with pinnacles and 566 groups of residences and is now just a touristic site with very little human life left to speak of, except those that restore and guard it.
Walking past the last courtyard of Ta Prohm you follow a path 400 meters long leading to the east gate. Your foot steps and voices are mixed with the movement of your feet as you take it all in. Ta Prohm is magical, a place of obvious importance and a continuation of Khmer’s tradition.