Rooted doorway at Ta Prohm
The Angkor Archaeological Park, is huge and there are numerous temples around that you would need at most a week to explore most of them. But like I said before, I would only be featuring some of my favorite temples. One such temple which have also been popularized in the media and one of the most postcard perfect temple scenery is Ta Prohm.
Popular scene where Tomb Raider was shot
Yes, this is the ground where Angelina Jolie walked during her shoot at the first installment of the Tomb Raider movie. A lot of people were intrigued when they saw this scene. Even my officemates before said so “It’s real” they thought it was a studio or some graphics. Yes, it’s the actual setting, the difference is there’s no trap or underground tunnel to where she fought with the giant Shiva.
Sad to say though that Ta Prohm is in a state of disrepair. Trees and outgrowth roots penetrated the temple walls causing them to crumble. But despite these sorry state the combination of old stones and creeping roots created a beautiful pattern among the temple walls. Also symbolizing the ephemeral existence of these great temple and kingdom at the hands of nature.
Exploring the central complex
This temple was one of the first major temple which Jayavarman VII built around mid 12th to 13th century as a Buddhist monastery. At that time, it was the wealthiest temple controlling over 3000 villages. Now it has been outrun by an overgrowth of forest. The place has only been partially cleared intentionally so visitors could have a feel on how the discoverers of Angkor Wat felt when they first stumbled upon it.
Silk cotton tree roots running along the the inner enclosure
In our exploration, we entered through the west entrance of the complex. It’s a bit of a walk upon entering the gopura towards the central complex. We were a bit in a hurry since there was a bus load of Korean Tourist behind us. They did reach us though so we just let them go first while we took our time to take the picture. The Tomb Raider scene is actually the first root outgrowth you’ll see upon entering the complex. Already there were still a few Caucasians there taking picture, the Koreans moved on. We took the left path and examined the walls of an inner complex, we didn’t enter at this time since we thought it was a restricted area due to the unstable structures and rubble. We continued on outside the wall until we reached an exit gopura. But the place was different than the one we entered and our tuktuk driver (whose probably sleeping again at that time) is not there so we headed back.
Inner temples and pathways
Good thing we headed back. I saw this accessible temple entrance and decided to enter. It was the entrance to the main inner complex where there where temple structures inside. Also, there are more impressive and scenic root outgrowths that can be found in here.
This roof might fall off
Inside the temple, there are also some wooden pathways to help you find your way safely around the area. Don’t try to venture off the cordoned area, lest you want to be buried alive under these rubbles.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.