The temple of Ta Prohm was neglected and swallowed by the jungle of Cambodia for almost four centuries. Today, it looks very much in the same state as when the French explorers stumbled upon it more than a century ago.
Efforts were made to reclaim the temple from the jungle, but the jungle would not completely let go. It embraces the temple tightly like a possessive claw.
Ta Prohm was one of the monumental temples built around late 12th to early 13th century by King Javayarman VII, the same king who built Angkor Thom.
King J VII dedicated the temple to his mother. The temple housed the statue of the goddess Prajnaparamita – the personification of wisdom and considered the mother of Buddha – and was carved in the likeness of the king’s mother.
The temple also served as a monastery. Its original name was Raja Vihara ( “the Monastery of the King”). Today, the temple is nicknamed the Tomb Raider’s Temple, thanks to its appearance in Angelina Jolie’s movie.
Ta Prohm is easily one of the highlights for anyone who visits the Angkor temples. Its the most atmospheric of the temples and is a haven for any photography enthusiasts. It’s also must-see for anyone traveling with children; it’s a temple where they will love to linger.
- The best time to visit the Ta Prohm is early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid tour bus crowds and for better lighting for photography. To dodge the crowd, it is also a good to visit around lunchtime, when visitors normally return to their hotels to avoid the heat; however, the canopy of trees at Ta Prohm will provide you shades from the strong ray of the sun.
- If you visit Ta Prohm without a guide and you cannot locate some of the dramatic trees that we photographed (you have to go through labyrinth of galleries to find some of them), ask one of the friendly temple guards where the “big big trees” are and they will be happy to direct you.
- Ta Prohm is easily reachable by tuk-tuk, motorbikes or car from Siem Reap, the gateway to all Angkor Temples. Your hotel can arrange for your transportation as well as guides, if you wish.
- Ta Prohm is located about 3 kms directly east of Angkor Thom, 3.4 kms northeast of Angkor Wat and 8.7 kms north of Siem Reap.
- An Angkor Pass is required for entry to Ta Prohm. For more info about Angkor Pass, please go here.
- Suggested reading: Ancient Angkor by Michael Freeman and Claude Jacques
- Suggested accommodation: We stayed at Shinta Mani, a beautiful and contemporary boutique hotel and we highly recommend. We call it a hotel with a heart as it donates part of your nightly rate to help local communities. It has a non-profit component that trains locals in hospitality business as well as contributes in health programs.