Ever saw a huge root of centuries old trees coiling and implanted on temples of the 12th century? There are many we can see at Ta Prohm temples, within the area of Angkor Archaeological Park - Northwestern Cambodia. These temples are considered the most beautiful by many visitors because of its extraordinary relationship with the surrounding jungle. Many archaeologists and groups of high school students from other countries come for doing survey and research. Ta Prohm is a very large Buddhist temple built by Jayavarman VII and once tended by 18 high priests and more than 2,500 lesser priests.
According to the history, it housed more than 12,000 people within its enclosures.
Approaching main gateway to the complex of Ta Prohm, the panorama gives the impression that these temples have been abandoned for years; in fact it’s been for centuries. We can see great blocks that fell centuries ago lie on the jungle floor covered in ferns and bushes. The main gateway is scary enough to pass through because the block stones roof are not well attached one another as if it could be broken or cracked apart and fall down anytime.
The main gateway
Winda,Laura,Esther,Risma,Elly --- Marida,Erna (sitting)
The temples were built by Khmers with the strong influence of Hinduism can be seen from their beautiful art of carvings portrayed on the walls of temples. The subject of these carvings are Hindu gods and stories from the great Hindu epics, particularly the Mahabrata and the Ramayana. Some carvings and statues remain as sharply carved.
The buildings walls are mostly cracked and bushed. It seems that the jungle slowly overtook the buildings, cracking and squeezing walls and splitting up stones apart.
Another interesting view at Ta Prohm is a strange harmony of stone and vegetation. We can see many temples with endless tree roots coiling and implanted on their spreading skirts. The canopy of trees which overhang the whole site obstruct the sunlight. There are insects, birds, bats and frogs everywhere, living in the ruins. It seems that the slow encroachment of the jungle continues to take place; these temples one day may disappear forever into the soil of the jungle.
It seems like restoration on this temples has not been started yet. Are these left so to maintain their uniqueness or to keep their originality; or to see how these original temples of the 12th century disappear naturally; or left so for archaeological study and research, or for other purposes? I guess it is being planned or being prepared. The restoration works must be very well planned, because it's a big and hard work to get all the temples restored whilst on the other hand their originality must be conserved.
Taking young children to take a walk surrounding the complex of Ta Prohm is not recommended. The passageways are bumpy, some are covered by fallen blocks and stones which takes extra energy to walk on. However, there is lots of fun to travel around and see great temples of 12th century surrounded by jungle.