Prasat Ta Prohm, also known as the Jungle Temple or the Tomb Raider Temple, is a Buddhist temple located near the city of Siem Reap, Cambodia. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries by King Jayavarman VII, it served as a monastery and center of learning during its heyday. What sets Ta Prohm apart from other temples in the Angkor complex is its remarkable integration with nature. The temple is surrounded by dense jungle, with trees growing around and within its structures. These trees have taken root in the ruins, creating a mesmerizing sight that attracts visitors from around the world.
Ta Prohm gained international fame after scenes of the temple engulfed by the jungle were featured in the movie “Tomb Raider.” The movie showcased the temple’s mystical and otherworldly atmosphere, capturing the imagination of viewers worldwide. Today, Ta Prohm continues to evoke a sense of wonder and adventure, as visitors explore its ancient corridors and marvel at the intricate stonework intertwined with towering tree roots.
The layout of Ta Prohm consists of long low buildings enclosed by a rectangular wall. Inside, visitors can find niches adorned with Buddha images and reliefs depicting scenes from Buddhist mythology, such as “The Great Departure.” The temple’s exterior wall is recognizable by its stone entry tower in the shape of a cross. However, some areas of the temple remain inaccessible due to ongoing restoration efforts and potential safety concerns. It is advisable for visitors to follow a guide or a plan to avoid getting lost in this vast and captivating complex.
Efforts have been made to stabilize and conserve Ta Prohm since its abandonment and neglect following the fall of the Khmer Empire. In 1992, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, recognizing its cultural and historical significance. The temple complex has undergone extensive restoration to protect it from further damage and ensure its preservation for future generations.
Prasat Ta Prohm stands as a testament to the power and beauty of nature’s relentless encroachment on human-made structures. It provides a glimpse into Cambodia’s rich history and offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in an enchanting world where ancient ruins blend seamlessly with the surrounding jungle.