TA PROHM: the mother temple

Ta Prohm
Ta Prohm Roots 2008
"This huge temple complex looks very similar  to when it was first discovered. The high lichen covered walls are distorted by the movement of the earth beneath. 800 years of history lie twisted and broken, with sinister root systems of huge trees enveloping doors and windows in a stranglehold.The distinction between organic and non-organic become blurred in the green pallor of light from the jungle canopy.  The intensity of the jungle sounds here can be almost deafening"
I wrote this after my first visit in 2002. Ta Prohm and the temples have changed a lot in the last few years and visitor numbers have increased. In spite of this; Ta Prohm is one of the Wonders of Cambodia and is justifiably near the top of places to see here!

You are in Angkor Temples -    Angkor Wat- Angkor Thom  - Bayon - Ta Prohm - Preah Khan - Eastern Temples  

This tiny figure protected by tree roots, is hard to find!

Ta Prohm Deity
Ta Prohm Deity
Angkor has many grand and spectacular things to see; but sometimes its the smaller things that really excite. The Deity surrounded by tree roots is situated in a busy area and is passed by hundreds of thousands every year; but most never see it. Having a good guide who looks beyond the normal field of vision; can bring forth a lot of details and intimate knowledge to really enhance the experience of being here at Angkor.

A documentary about Angkor Splash of Color features in 2008 featured myself in Ta  Prohm searching for this deity.
Splash of Color TV Cambodia.

Temple Watch Article on the Future of Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm
New Platform
When the early 20th Century temple restorers started work in Angkor, it was decided to leave the ruin of Ta Prohm un-restored to give an impression of what it was like to discover a lost temple. The fabulous tree roots and atmosphere has been one of Angkor’s  major draw ever since.  Safety considerations and visitor numbers have meant that restoration and maintenance were needed.
Repairs to the western entrance Gopura has now been finished and the western cruciform terrace with Naga Balustrade is on the way to completion.  The well known tree with strangler fig over a doorway in the Central Sanctuary has been opened up to visitors  with new walkway and fencing.
The new viewing platform at the famous East Gopura; will deter people crawling over the tree and carvings; however it is likely to upset photographers, who with patience could wait for the groups to go. With time, the wood will weather, so the platform will not be so noticeable. Looking at what has been going on at the temple in the last few years; the principle of not restoring Ta Prohm has long since been abandoned; so how far should the temple restoration go?

Dave Perkes February  2009
(Temple Watch Article in Phnom Penh Post)

Ta Prohm plan
Plan of Ta Prohm

In search of a dinosaur.

Ta Prohm Dinosaur
The dinasaur figure
One of the mysteries of Angkor is a carved figure of a dinosaur which looks very like a stegosaurus. There is some speculation as to its origin.
I had seen photos of it and even a restaurant in Siem Reap Goodysaurus was named after it. Some say it was an original carving. I do not believe that that the ancient Khmers would have known about it. Was it carved by a temple restorer as a bit of a joke; or has Cambodia got the equivalent of the Scottish Loch Ness Monster? I asked my lead guide Ta Elit exactly where it was. He told me that it was situated in a quiet part of Ta Prohm and is easily missed by the casual visitor. With the aid of a detailed plan of the Temple, I found the carving on the east side of the West Gopura to the right of the entry tower. It certainly looked like a dinosaur and appeared very authentic.
I did some research; seeing fanciful accounts on the web of humans existing with dinosaurs that I found quite amusing. My conclusion is that it must be a Sumatran Rhino or even a Pangolin; which have a similar shape, and the spines must be vegetation or decoration

 Dave Perkes January 2009
(Temple Watch Article in Phnom Penh Post)

Ta Prohm Roots taken in 2002

 for more information on our tours to Angkor and  beyond see