Man v/s Nature: Ta Prohm, Angkor, Cambodia

The name ‘Ta Prohm‘ will probably not ring a bell in most minds.

But its Hollywood avatar as seen here, might.

In a contest fought over centuries, Nature seems to have come out on top at the Ta Prohm temple, which is a part of the Angkor Archaeological Park in Cambodia. Over hundreds of years of the temple being forgotten, giant banyan, silk-cotton and strangler fig trees laid claim on the ruins of this ancient temple / monastery; seeming to grow out of nowhere and enveloping the buildings with their massive roots.

Roots growing out of nowhere
Roots growing out of nowhere
IMG_20150404_121356
Enveloping the temple in some parts

These huge trees are now a part of the temple itself and have been left untouched during the restoration, giving Ta Prohm its very distinct look and making this one of the most interesting temples of the Angkor area.

Just before entering Ta Prohm, we were cornered by a very determined young girl selling postcards of the temple. Dealing with her was a test in persistence as the conversation went like this:

Girl (following us around): ‘One dollaaaah’

Us: ‘No, thanks’

^ Repeat of above dialogue non-stop, till one of the two parties finally decided to give up – luckily, her.

All around the temple, you’ll find tourists in various degrees of contortion, trying to pose either like the apsaras (dancing goddesses) in the carvings or like Angelina Jolie in the movie, Tomb Raider. Interestingly, the temple is being restored with the involvement of the Archaeological Survey of India, meaning that to our mild amusement, there were signs in Hindi around the temple.

Posing in full swing around the temple
Posing in full swing around the temple
Signs in Hindi too!
Signs in Hindi too!

Ta Prohm is reached easily from the other Angkor temples like Angkor Wat or Angkor Thom (10-20 minutes by tuktuk) and can be combined with them as a day tour. While it is less elaborate in terms of carvings or details than other like Banteay Srei, it is impressive in terms of atmosphere; and unique enough to not be forgotten by visitors anytime soon.

Inspired by The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Enveloped.”

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