Photographer's Note


To photographers, Ta Prohm is the most romantic temple of Angkor's complex, where the nature resumed its rights and disrupted the work of men.

To King Jayavarman VII, Ta Prohm is the monastery he built in 1186 to be dedicated to his mother, a cult Buddhist.


Following is the description by W. Robert Moore in his article, Angkor, Jewel of the jungle, published in National Geographic, April 1960 Issue (pp 567 & 568) where he was Chief, Foreign Editorial Staff of the magazine:

Wandering through Ta Prohm, I found it one of the most intriguing ruins of Angkor. For here, aside from clearing access paths, the conservators — French scholars who have restored Angkor — have left the structures as they first found them, overrun by jungle.

Huge, buttressed silk-cotton trees, banyans, and other forest monarchs interlace their prying roots among the temple stones and weave their branches into a thick canopy overhead. Here tiny threadlike tendrils grope for flaws or cracks in the masonry. Other tentacles are swollen into great grasping, prying arms. Massive roots coil and twist to uptilt heavy flagstones, split whole walls and corbelled arches, and bring down ornate façades.

Moss overgrows fallen stones, spreading a green fuzzy veil over softly rounded figures and smiling faces. A spider casts a web over a woman’s bare bosom. Doorway guardians stand leprous with lichen.

Yes, Ta Prohm is like a prisoner manacled and trussed by heavy ropes. Doomed for half a millennium, it refuses to surrender. It gives way only a little in one place, a little in another, as generation after generation of its assailants rise up to tighten their bonds.

There is an inscription in Ta Prohm which records precisely what the temple once was. Ta Prohm, says this fantastic record, enshrined the image of Jayavarman’s mother (portrayed as Prajnaparamita, the “perfection of wisdom”) and 260 other statues. Eighteen high priests and 2,740 ordinary priests officiated in its ceremonies, aided by 2,232 assistants, of whom 615 were women dancers. Once 12,640 persons resided within its walls, and another 66,625 men and women supplied food and other services — nearly 80,000 persons in all attached to this single monastery!

Listed also were the quantities of rice, beans, millet, butter, curds and whey, molasses, camphor, mustard, wax, pepper, oils, and other supplies used for offering at the temple. Its treasury, we are told, contained gold vessels weighing more than 11,000 pounds and nearly the same amount of silver, 35 diamonds, 40,620 pearls, 4,540 other precious stones, 967 Chinese veils, 523 parasols…

Imagine, then, the splendor of other temples which were even larger!


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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 472 W: 125 N: 2331] (8456)
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