You may wish to see a page with some historical background information first.
This small Hindu temple is located next to the Southern Gate of Angkor Thom, but it was built at an earlier time (Xth century).
It is one of the first temples made up of bricks and laterite (a local surface stone) and its simple, yet very elegant design, served as model for many other temples built at a later stage.
Gopura and first enclosure
The town of Ta Proum has seven gateways in the style
of triumphal arches, formed by a central tower at the
entrance and by lateral galleries. (..) The interior of the town is completely deserted; no one enters it except the Cambodians
from a hamlet outside the enclosure, who cultivate a few
rice-plantations. (..) The ruins are surrounded by a double wall of
ferruginous stone and by deep moats.
Henri Mouhout - Travels in the central parts of Indo-China (Siam), Cambodia, and Laos: during the years 1858, 1859, and 1860 - 1864
The French archaeologists who first worked at cleaning and restoring the monuments of Angkor, were faced with a difficult choice: whether to limit their activity to providing a safe access to the buildings or to restore their original appearance and to ensure their long term conservation.
Many monuments have concrete foundations and to some extent are the results of reconstructions: the site of Ta Prohm was chosen for showing how the monuments would appear with just limited conservation activity. It is improper to say it has been left in the same condition it was found, yet it gives the visitor a feeling of what the first explorers experienced when they reached the site.
You enter a long court, in which are three detached towers,
and on the opposite side are similar towers.
Several of these, which are from 8 to 10 metres high,
and well preserved, are real works of art. The mandarins
of the provinces of Ongcor and Battambong are at present
occupied in taking two of them to pieces, in order to
transport them to Bangkok, the king having issued orders
to that effect, and appointed one of the mandarins to carry
them out. Mouhout
Ta Prohm was built by King Jayavarman VII at the same time as the walls of Angkor Thom and of Bayon: it shows many similarities with these monuments: it was dedicated to Buddha, its pavilions are carved with faces of Avalokitesvara, (the Lord who looks down with compassion) and in general the decoration is very rich.
The devata (dancers)
On the opposite wall are large bas-reliefs, forming series
of subjects, set in a magnificent framework, which is in so
good a state of preservation that the delicacy of the execution can be appreciated. As for the bas-reliefs themselves,
they are much injured, not so much by time as by some
barbarous hand, for everywhere are marks of the hammer
or pickaxe. Mouhout
Ta Prohm was decorated with narrative bas-reliefs portraying episodes of the life of Buddha: these were almost totally erased after the death of King Jayavarman VII, when there was a return to traditional Hindu beliefs. The fine devata were spared.
In the centre are the ruins of a large
and splendid monument, which has suffered greatly by
the hand of time, and perhaps also from barbarous invasions. (..) This temple, which, after Ongcor-Wat, is the largest of all, is situated in a desert place, and
lost amidst a forest; an exuberant vegetation has overgrown everything, galleries and towers, so that it is difficult
to force a passage. Mouhout
To most visitors Ta Prohm is mainly associated with the gigantic trees which have grown upon the roofs of some buildings and with the melancholic sight of the marshes which surround the main temple.
|Day One - Page One
|Introduction - Angkor Thom (Southern Gate and Terraces)
|Day One - Page Two
|Angkor Thom (Temples)
|Day One - Page Three
|Day Two - Page One
|Prah Khan - Ta Som
|Day Two - Page Two
|Day Two - Page Three
|East Mebon - Pre Rup
|Day Three - Page One
|Baksei Chamkrong - Ta Prohm
|Day Three - Page Two
|Prasat Kravan - Phnom Bakheng
|Day Three - Page Three
|An excursion to Tonle Sap