What we would normally hear when talking about the beautiful country of Cambodia are the Angkor Temples in Siem Reap. The Angkor Wat is perhaps the most popular one–millions have already flocked this breathtaking structure over the years, admiring the wall carvings, complexes, passageways, jungles, and overall sense of magic within its ancient walls.
We’ve read seemingly countless articles about the Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building and a symbol of Cambodia. There is no doubt that this structure is beautiful, but the experience will definitely be more amazing if you explore the other surrounding temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park to catch a glimpse of the majestic the Khmer Empire. One of the temples that you must not miss is Ta Prohm.
Originally called Rajavihara, Tah Prohm (“Ancestor of Brahma”) is a temple east of Angkor Thom that visitors must definitely not miss. The name might ring a bell if you’ve seen the film Tomb Raider, but aside from Angelina Jolie’s image, there is still definitely so much more to see and learn from this ancient Cambodian treasure.
Dedicated to Buddhism, this temple is a work by King Jayavarman VII, who is also known for famous monuments Banteay Prei, Preah Khan, and Ta Som. King Jayavarman VII dedicated this temple to his mother, and was said to have modelled the temple’s main image of Prajnaparamita (personification of wisdom) to her. There are banyan, kapok, and fig trees are all over the place, and carvings of gods and other religious figures are found in all corners. With the nearly 300 statues of gods and more than 30 towers and many interesting passageways, this is certainly something where you’d want to really explore.
This is a definite must-see when you’re visiting Angkor. This temple was very rich in both jewels and surroundings, thriving with about 3,000 villages during its time. Ta Prohm also used to be the place where most of the empire’s medical supplies came from, so it played an important part at the time when Angkor flourished.
The thing that makes Ta Prohm Angkor unique is the beautiful harmony between the forest and the structures—its trademarks are mostly composed of tree roots hugging the walls, crawling in and out of them, frozen for centuries. Snaking through the walls, the trees wrapped around the structures at Tah Prohm makes this one of the most unique temples you’ll find in this mystical complex. When you visit, don’t just settle for going around the buildings. Make sure you explore the world inside—walk through the narrow passageways, delve into the corridors, and even make your way to the high parts of the temple.
This Cambodian temple is utterly beautiful, but there are times in the day when there will just be too many tourists (especially if you chance upon crowds from a couple of tour buses at a time). If you wish to have less noise and if you want to take pictures without lines of other visitors, you can go here early in the morning (perhaps after you see the stunning sunrise at the Angkor Wat).
Have you been to these temple complexes in Siem Reap, Cambodia? What other temples do you think should first-timers visit when in Angkor? There are simply too many temples in this place, and a week isn’t even enough to see them all, so what do you think should be the ones people should pay attention to? Give us your suggestions and even tips on how to effectively explore these inspiring structures, and give us new ideas on what other things are in store for visitors here.