Ta Prohm is the temple with the most special atmosphere in Angkor. The embrace of the jungle has made this place one of the most iconic in Cambodia. Its crumbling towers and walls imprisoned by the gigantic tree roots create a unique atmosphere that will make you feel like an explorer from another era.
Ta Prohm is a must for anyone who comes to see the temples of Angkor. Walking through its narrow and shady corridors is an experience of discovery. And the surprise in the form of sculptures of apsaras, warriors, and mythological beings appears every time you look out of a window, the stone arch of a door, or get lost in their inner courtyards.
Although it is currently almost liberated from the jungle embrace, Ta Prohm is the closest you will see to what the first European explorers found. The combination of greyish collapsed buildings and almost fleshy roots surrounding the moss-covered stones provoke a whole host of sensations.
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These strangling roots have ended up becoming the very support of many structures. Some of the most impressive are found inside the pavilions and patios. They are so large that it is very difficult to photograph them in their entirety, and in many cases, they serve as a background to photograph each other.
The Cambodia Tomb Raider Filming
Visiting places like this you will wonder what those adventurers felt when entering this place. The amazement of those men when discovering the gigantic structures of the temple of Angkor Wat and imagining the power of the Khmer empire that raised what is perhaps the largest group of temples in the world.
It is such a scenic place that it has served as the set for some films. That is why Ta Prohm is also known as the “Temple of the Tomb Raider“.
Nature is a fundamental part of every visit to Ta Prohm. It is true that after the conservation and restoration work, only the largest trees that grow directly on the old buildings have been left. The largest is the ceibas, followed by the ficus that are their roots that seem to strangle the structures erected almost 900 years ago.
After being abandoned in the 15th century, the jungle entered its stones. Today, many of its walls appear in ruins, its corridors blocked by landslides and its sculptures and bas-reliefs covered with lichens and mosses. Here and there gigantic roots and climbing plants appear.
And the whole complex is kept under the shade of the enormous trees whose trunks rise straight towards the sky like cyclopean columns. The play of light and shadow, the humidity, the warmth, and the beauty of the numerous sculptures and bas-reliefs that seem newly sculpted, give Ta Prohm a unique and mysterious air.
Ta Prohm History
The inscriptions commemorating its foundation found in Ta Prohm tell us about the splendor and wealth of this Buddhist temple built at the end of the 12th century. The temple is initially known as Rajavihara (King’s Monastery). Its maintenance required the work of 80,000 people of which 12,000 lived within the temple grounds, in addition to 2,700 officials. The initial idea of the Khmer monarch Jayavarman VII was to build one of the largest temples in Angkor dedicated to the memory of his mother. Nearly 300 Buddhist deities were worshiped here, although the Rajavihara was later turned into a Hindu temple.
How to get to Ta Prohm temple
Ta Prohm is part of the Angkor complex’s small circuit and is only a few minutes away from Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. The temple’s major structures are ringed by a massive wall and hence cannot be seen from the road; instead, they must be discovered via a short walk along a jungle-lined route. Biking or taking a jeep through the Angkor forest and the lesser-used gates is a terrific way to get to this temple.
When is the best time to visit Ta Prohm Temple?
The best time to visit Ta Prohm is early in the morning when it is less crowded. The silence, only broken by the sound of the birds, and the freshness of the morning better recreate the unique atmosphere of this place. Although the area that can be visited is not very large compared to other temples in Angkor, the visit to Ta Prohm will take you between 2 and 3 hours. Especially if you want to enjoy its special corners and so many scenic places. Sometimes you will feel a bit lost in its hallways that open onto patios that open onto other hallways and so on. I assure you that that sensation of walking through a forgotten labyrinth is part of its charm.
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- Ta Prohm opens at 7:30 am in the morning and closes at 5:30 in the evening.
- Your visit is included in the general admission to Angkor.
- Please wear clothing that covers shoulders and knees, due to cultural respect.