Photographer's Note

Unlike many of the others sites at Angkor, this ruined temple was not restored; it was left almost as it was when it was "rediscovered." This giant strangler fig is growing directly out of the roof of this structure. These eerie trees wrap themselves around the ruins and look really cool... like the tentacles of giant sea creatures!

Ta Prohm (lit. "ancestor Brahma") is a temple in the Angkor complex in Cambodia, built in the Bayon style and dates to the 12th/13th centuries. It's technically outside the city of Angkor Thom. It was built by King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university as part of his significant building program. Stele inscriptions indicate that the site was home to more than 12,000 people, including 18 high priests and 615 dancers) but an additional 80,000 people resided in nearby villages and provided services and supplies to the temple. The temple also served as a treasury for valuable materials such as gold, pearls and silks. It's described as a "flat" Khmer temple, meaning that it's not a pyramid-type where the inner levels are higher than the outer, as in the case of Angkor Wat. Ta Prohm is oriented toward the east. The outer perimeter wall encloses an area of approximately 650,000 sq. meters that would have formed part of the town; most of the area except the temple proper is now re-forested (and probably heavily mined!). There were originally face-towers as in the Bayon temple, but few of them remain. Unlike Bayon, however, there are few narrative bas-reliefs. There may have been more originally, but it is possible that much of the Buddhist narrative art was destroyed by later Hindu rulers following the death of Jayavarman VII. Additions to the temple continued as late as the end of the 13th century, but after the fall of the Khmer empire in the 15th century, the temple was abandoned and neglected, unlike some of the other temples in the Angkor complex, which were never completely abandoned. Following the rediecovery of the temple, conservation began in the early 20th century but it was decided that Ta Prohm would be left as it was found, because it was one of the most impressive in the sense that it had "merged with the jungle" but had not yet become part of it. The jungle is kept at bay today to prevent it from taking over the site further, but the trees growing among the structures were largely left in place.

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 78 N: 1178] (2096)
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