Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ta Prohm: Siem Reap's Jungle Temple

This temple was immortalized by the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It’s giant roots and jungle setting is what brings tourists to it in great numbers. Along with Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple, Ta Prohm makes for the 3 most important and most popular temples in the Angkor Archaeological park.

Mighty tree trunk at Ta Prohm
This temple, built in the 12th century is located one kilometre east of the Bayon temple is today in a state of ruins where there are more tree roots than the actual temple itself. But, that is the aura of this place. The Archaeological Survey of India is helping the local group in setting this temple right to its former glory.

Ta Prohm taken over by giant Banyan roots
Unlike other temples in the Angkor complex where the best times to visit is early morning or late evening, the best time to visit Ta Prohm is around noon time when the sun is straight overhead. This being a jungle temple, it is densely vegetated and very difficult for light to enter in at other times of the day.

The jungle setting of Ta Prohm temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
But, this is also the time when the temple is the most crowded as everyone knows that this is the best time to visit the temple. If you looking to photograph the key sights and want the place to be clear of people, then you need to wait it out as tourists usually come in clusters. If you want an off-beat photography experience, check out this temple in the early morning hours when you will more or less have the entire temple to yourself.

Ta Prohm - the jungle temple of Siem Reap, Cambodia
This Mahayana Buddhist temple that was originally called Rajavihara is oriented to the east. Unlike other Angkor temples which has stunning bas reliefs, this temple has few few and is very popular only because of its jungle setting and ruins.

Stone of the Ta Prohm Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Go on and see this UNESCO World Heritage site temple and the fig, banyon and kapok trees that spread their gigantic roots over stones, walls and terraces. Its strange, haunted look will make you feel like you went through a time shift into the ancient world!!

I explored this temple as part of an invite from the tourism authority of Thailand and Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia.

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