Regarded as one of Angkor’s most atmospheric temples, Ta Prohm is perhaps best known as the location in which the movie Tomb Raider was filmed (admittedly, I have not seen it).
The circa 12th century temple’s gnarly, towering trees are at times indistinguishable from the stone walls, pillars, and foundations that they are devouring. The setting is mysterious; if you have ever pondered what would happen to man’s structures if left tended only by Mother Nature for several centuries, Ta Prohm illustrates the answer well.
Ta Prohm was built by King Jayavarman VII in honor of his mother, Jayashitamani. Since 2006, it has been undergoing renovation, thanks to the Indian government. Thus far, the projects have stabilized the structure, using metal girders. A colonnade has also been restored, using columns that long ago haphazardly collapsed. It is expected that these jigsaw-like puzzle repairs will continue through 2014.
I feel fortunate to have twice seen Ta Prohm before the complex becomes too refurbished, for it is the temple’s faults that offer the most treasured character.
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