Angkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia
16.01.2012 - 16.01.2012
Ta Prohm Temple - a La Tomb Raider
The Ta Prohm, known as Rajavihara (Royal Monastery) in the Khmer times and these days, in popular media as the jungle temple, is located within the Angkor Archaeological Park and was founded by Jayavarman VII in the 13th century AD as a Buddhist monastery and university. Unlike other temples, Ta Prohm has been intentionally left in the same condition that it was found, with trees growing out of the temple and it's jungle surrounding. This is what it makes it very popular with tourists. The temple was also used as a location for the Angelina Jolie starrer Lara Croft:Tomb Raider.
The temple is being conserved jointly by Archaeological Survey of India and the APSARA (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap).
The temple doesn't have many narrative bas-reliefs like those in Bayon or Angkor Wat, possibly these were destroyed during the Hindu restoration of Jayavaram VIII. However, we can still see reliefs related to the life of the Buddha such as Siddhartha's (Buddha's childhood name) departure of his father's palace, images of meditating monks, davarapalas (temple guardians). There is also one animal carving on a relief that looks like a Stegosaurus..the guide mentioned to us as this being the evidence that the Khmers were aware of it.