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Ta Prohm Temple - The King Jayavarman VII's First Major Temple Project

 

Ta Prohm is a quiet, and sprawling monastery, and unlike most other sites, it has only been partially cleared of overgrowth, and has been intentionally Ta Prohm left more or less the way it was originally found. Some walls and doorways of the ancient structure were left overgrown and gripped by huge trees and other foliage.

Flocks of parrots in the trees add to the atmosphere, and give the visitor the feeling of discovering a temple lost in the jungle. With this image in mind, it is not hard to imagine what the French naturalist Henri Mouhot must have felt when he ‘discovered’ the temple in 1860.

The monastery was one of King Jayavarman VII's first major temple projects, and was dedicated to his mother. It is estimated that at one time this vast 600-room monastery and the surrounding area had a population of over 70,000 people. The temple is 145 metres by 125 metres, It was home to high priests, monks, assistants, dancers and laborers, and was very wealthy with great stores of jewels and gold, and controlled an estimated 3,000 villages.

It contains a maze of courtyards and galleries, and is well worth spending some time to explore its many dark corridors. Ta Prohm was used in both the movie and game of 'Tomb Raider', and has some of the best temple-in-the-jungle photo opportunities.

Ta Prohm is similar in general design to the temples of Preah Khan and Banteay Kdei, which were also built by Jayavarman VII at a later date. Preah Khan was dedicated to Jayavarman VII’s father.

Ta Prohm is an excellent example of the monastic complex style temples, and is a must to be included in any visit to the temples.

Location: One km east of Angkor Thom 
Construction Period: Mid 12th - Early 13th century C.E. 
Religion: Buddhist 
Built by: King Jayavarman VII 
Building Style: Bayon 
Best Time to Visit: Early morning when it is not as crowded.

 

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