Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

Ta Prohm: Roots and Stone

#Cambodia #Angkor

  Cambodia and Thailand - February 2011

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

the Ta ProhmThe roots of the trees embrace the stone. I love this temple of Angkor, where you can almost take yourself for an explorer, discovering mysterious ruins buried in the jungle...

When the plant marries the mineral

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.
Ta Prohm. (Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia, February 2011)

Here, the vegetable marries the mineral. They became completely inseparable.

Over the centuries, the roots of the cheese and fig trees have taken possession of the place, strangling the ruined doors and galleries, insinuating themselves into all the interstices, imitating the forms of the temple. The roots seem to have "sunk" along the stone walls.

The trees have sometimes destroyed, sometimes supported the walls. A slow and spectacular fight between nature and architecture ... The half-collapsed walls and the giant trunks create a unique, magical, a little fantastic atmosphere.

The result is beautiful.

Ta Phrom, among all the temples to visit in Angkor, is in my eyes the most moving, the most aesthetic, the most fascinating.

This is my third visit, several years apart, and each time I get the same thought: this is truly my favorite. I've always loved playing Indiana Jones... 😁

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

Preserved as is for the "picturesque".

When Ta Prohm was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century, the archaeologists of the École française d'Extrême-Orient who were working on the Angkor site decided to leave this temple as it was, as "concession to the general taste for the picturesque".

Even if the temple has not been restored like most of the other monuments of Angkor, it required some work: the ruins had to be stabilized to make them accessible to visitors, while maintaining this "state of apparent neglect".

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

A "picturesque" too arranged?

But, but... I confess: I was a little disappointed, compared to the memory I had kept from my previous visits, in 2001 and in 2003. Because you can't just walk around as you want, at Ta Prohm.

Wooden walkways, barriers and security cordons have been placed throughout the site. Many passages are now off limits. There is also a signposted route for the visit, with small signs.

And, how can I put it... It kind of breaks the "explorer" vibe that I loved so much.

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

The temple remains bewitching all the same, in the early hours of the morning, when the visitors are still rare.

The light and the heat go up little by little ...

The invaders tumble to Ta Prohm

Then, after a first exploration, we want to return to admire the big root of the gallery, the door entwined by the fig tree... and there, it is the drama.

It's time for the invaders! 😱

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.

Ta Prohm. Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. February 2011.


I should have known that all those nice wooden platforms, which prevent you from tripping on the collapsed stones, had not been installed just for me...


  Cambodia and Thailand - February 2011

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I'll always have an incredible memory of Ta Prohm, from 2000: being alone, completely alone, completely alone in the middle of temples and trees, and feeling to the depths of your guts all the majesty of Time, civilizations and trees that finally show that a certain "fusional harmony" is possible between culture and nature. So it saddens me a lot to know that today, these places are packed with tourists and invaders; on the one hand it's "normal", something so beautiful can't leave one indifferent but .... But it's really sad not to be able to feel that immense surge of majesty that I felt when I was 12.

  2. Magnificent series of photos... and the last two are stunning! I don't know how to describe them without being derogatory to tourists; it would be "abnormal", however, to reserve so much beauty for the happy few! So what can we do? Maybe one day we'll reserve these temples the same fate as the Lascaux cave! There'll be the real ones; the fakes! 🙁

  3. This temple is absolutely beautiful.
    On the other hand, it is true that the mass of tourist prevents a little to take advantage of the beauty of the places.
    I was lucky enough to visit just before closing time when there was hardly anyone left, and then... chills guaranteed!

  4. Roooooo là là, it's scary all these people !!! I'm glad I was able to visit when there was hardly anyone around because
    it would have spoiled the fun for me! But on the other hand, I'm well aware that it would be unfair to reserve all these beauties for an elite...
    All this crowd, it must contribute to take away the mysterious side of the place no? 🙁

  5. I might add, it's a bit like a supermarket fishmonger on December 24 at 9 a.m.! "hey, wait your turn for the photo, no but I was there before!" and "whose turn is it?", "who's got number 53?!" 🙁

  6. Of course, as platforms go, they're more useful for tourists from Asia.
    Are you in Siem Reap Corinne? what is your circuit? how long do you travel?
    I just saw that you looked at my blog about Koh Lanta.
    Joce (canaima)

  7. @Chris: I had the same kind of memory as you, dating back to 2001... The temple is still beautiful, though. It just feels a lot less lonely!!! 🙄

    @Ysbilia: Who knows... A new airport is under construction. The "invaders" are going to be even more numerous in the years to come. I've got a whole bunch of other "stunning" photos in store, which you're going to love... 😆

    @Lemerou: Yes, to recapture some of the original atmosphere of the sites, you have to come early or late in the day... 😉

    @Nani: Yes, when the bands arrive, it suddenly breaks all the charm of the place... 😡

    @David: Beng Melea, excellent suggestion ... But it will be next time!

    @Joce: I left Siem Reap about ten days ago. I'm now wrapping up my trip to Thailand (I'll be taking the plane back in a few hours), where I passed through Krabi, Phi Phi, Khao Lak, to dive. I'm behind in writing my posts... 8)

  8. Ta prohm, Angkor War, Bayon... These are the magnificent must-sees, but over-visited. In fact, I preferred the atmosphere of the "smaller" temples. The ones that are shunned by some of the VIP bus groups. 💡

    Of course, they're less spectacular, their charms leaving a little more to be desired. But, in fact, not for long. There are fewer roots to intertwine with the stone, fewer mysterious faces... but, for the most part, they exude an atmosphere of their own, which is easier to enjoy. In some temples, it's because there are piles of stone as far as the eye can see beneath the forest; in others, it's because they're smaller and seem more delicate; in others, it's because of the view from the top.
    For example, I really liked the atmosphere of the Bakong (Roluos group). A pond surrounds it, there's a monastery inside, trees planted, colorful flowers... People live right next door. You liked it too, didn't you?

  9. @The other girl: Absolutely... The lesser-known "small" temples deserve a blog post. I was planning to talk about the Bakong too, which I loved, yes. In future posts!