Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ta Prom: The Jungle Temple

The temple of Ta Prom has been left more or less as it was found, with an overgrowth of jungle and portions tumbled down. It gives you some idea of what the first westerners found when they began exploring the area in the late 19th century.

When I told people I was going to Cambodia, they often asked "Cambodia? Why? What's there?" Once I said Angkor Wat, a light went off in many of their heads. "Oh! That's where they made Tomb Raider! Sweet!" Well, I haven't seen Tomb Raider (Angelina Jolie), and I probably never will. If you have, this may look a bit familliar.

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Massive webs of Banyon roots cling to sandstone walls, stained by centuries and dancing with intricately carved apsaras. Mounds of moss-rocks, victims of neglect and the the crushing roots of the encroaching jungle, lie defeated, scattered throughout the temple grounds. Droplets of light trickling through the lush green foilage, caught in the mist of monsoon season, creates a mysterious, ethereal air.

Though many signs warn tourists of the danger of exploring most of the tumbling temple grounds, I couldnt help but scatter up mountains of fallen stones into hidden courtyards,stumbling over the tangle of knarled roots slithering down the walls and through the temple passages, and past the warning signs standing gaurd in the darkened doorways of the temple's shadow-veiled interior. I even stumbled into a small chamber acoustically designed so that when I beat upon my chest, the entire temple seemed to shutter from the thunderous echo. I was in full Indaina Jones mode. I could have stayed there forever.

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Apparently this is the doorway where Angelina Jolie bends down and picks something up. Anyone who's seen the movie, please feel free to elaborate!

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I was lucky to visit the temple at a time when most tourists are headed elsewhere! These few stand in awe.


Patrick Leong said...

wow. i like those monstrous giant roots outside the temple ground. did you feel anything while you were there ? i mean some sort of energy ?!?

zbjernak said...

angkor wat together with borobudur in indonesia..

2 of he wonders of ancient world

cool cool

love the fact that it was buildt, huge and briefly dissappeared before being discovered back..