Temples in Cambodia are not all about Angkor Wat, although it is obviously the main reason to visit the country. In fact, if you’re looking for somewhere which is less-touristic and still fascinatingly and mysteriously beautiful, side steps from the main Angkor temples and explore the secrets Ta Prohm.
Here we will give you 3 facts about The Sacred Temple of Ta Prohm.
Fact #1: Its first name is Rajavihara (Royal Temple)
The first interesting thing is probably the name of the temple. Just after completion, it was called Rajavihara instead of Ta Prohm now. Ta Prohm is located in the east of Angkor Thom and over 12km from the center of Siem Reap. It can be said that Ta Prohm is located in a favorable position for travelers to visit, yet it remains a relatively underrated temple.
You can find at Into the traditional Khmer Art & Culture.
Below is the sacred temple in 360° views, take a look yourself at the enormous invading tree:
Views: A Sacred Tree by Google Maps
Fact #2: It was built in the end of the 12th century but discovered in the 20th century
The temple was established by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII in 1189. Unlike most temples at Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm keeps its features like its initial construction. It is covered with the jungles making it one of the most famous temples at Angkor Wat.
In fact, the whole temple complelx is 1 km long, 650m wide. It is built to honor the royalty used to be a monastery and a school of Mahayana Buddhism. Previously, this temple used to occupy 12 640 people including 18 monks, 2,740 priests, 2232 maids and 615 dancers.
Tourists come to visit will certainly be attracted by its architecture silently admiring hardworking people who created such monumental works.
Additionally, King Jayavarman VII ordered to create 260 walls, 39 towers, 566 clusters of stone houses, 286 houses with bricks, 3,140 villages and 79,365 people who served the temple. Treasures in the temple included up to 5 tons of gold dishes, 512 beds, 524 umbrella, 35 pearls and 454 precious stones. However, the halo of Jayavarman’s reign is now the only remaining painting of the decaying temple hidden in the shadow of the tropical jungle.
What is more, the temple is also called “Queen’s Tomb” built by King Jayavarman VII to worship his mother Jayarajachudanami. According the legend, the tomb was placed in four stone walls full of diamonds.
Once the capital of the Khmer empire was destroyed by Siamese and Khmer kings left to Phnom Penh in the 15th century, the temple had been forgotten and covered by the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1860 by Herri Mouhot.
Over years, under the impacts of wars and nature, it is getting old and ruinous covered with green moss. Especially, Ta Prohm temple has old tall big trees whose roots penetrate buildings creating a mysterious space in the temple.
Fact #3: It was to be chosen as the scene in the movie “Tomb Raider”
Ta Prohm temple was the place to be chosen as the scene in the movie “Tomb Raider” starring Angelina Jolie as the main character. This film was extremely famous when being screened in many countries. Since then, Ta Prohm temple has been more well-known to the world.
Angelina Jolie in “Tomb Raider”