King Jayavarman VII built the temple in dedication to his mother. Construction began in 1186 CE. The temple honours Prajnaparamita (the goddess of wisdom in Mahayana Buddhism). We know the temple from the Angelina Jolie movie Tomb Raider.
Iconic Shots from Tomb Raider
The tree with the roots growing in the temple is the main image which makes people think Ta Prohm. The other, the image of a Buddha surrounded by tree roots, is also popular. hmm.. are we sure about that second one? Read on to find out!
Ta Prohm abandoned after the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 15th century was re-disovered in the 1930s by Maurice Glaize. He made the conscious decision to leave the temple consumed by trees which gives it a very ancient feeling.
Trees covering stones
The Inner Temple
We returned to Ta Prohm on our second day after we realized that we had missed the Buddha encased in tree roots. The Tuk-tuk driver knew what Colleen was talking about when she described the head. He told us where it was at the front of the entrance.
We arrived, looked, and asked. We got some blank looks but also some helpful information.
After many twists and turns we found the Buddha in the tree. Nope, this isn’t what we were expecting but it is the only one at Ta Prohm. In fact, we think it is the only one like it in the Angkor complex. I guess Tomb Raider had some creative license like they did with the river in front of Angkor Wat.
Stay tuned for our Day 2 adventures in the Angkor Complex