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Angkor Archeological Park

Ta Prohm

Explore the heart of the Khmer ancestral empire

     Spong trees (dubbed “fromagers” by the French owing to their enormous roots that brought to mind an oozing camembert) have invaded this temple erected in the late 12th century under Jayavarman VII (dedicated in 1186). Its original name was Rajavihara, the royal monastery. It features a set of concentric galleries with corner towers and gopuras, with additional buildings and enclosures. Initially kept more or less in the state it was when discovered in the 19th century, the temple is selected to provide visitors with a romantic vision of ruins, especially due to the spectacular trees. But, in order to avoid damages to the monument and to ensure safety for a huge amount of visitors, consolidation and restoration works were performed. Apart trees gripping the temple, do not miss to visit the Hall of Dancers and to admire many fine pediments, almost with Buddhist images.

History

     Known today as Ta Prohm or “Old Brahma”, this monument was initially named “Rajavihara” meaning “royal monastery”. In 1186 AD, Jayavarman VII consecrated several statues here, the most important of which was that of Prajnaparamita, the personification of the Perfection of Wisdom, a figure whom the King identified with his mother.

Reflecting without doubt a religious ideology, it is only some years later that the King dedicated another temple, Preah Khan, to his father whom he identified with Lokesvara. On an official level, this is clearly in the religious context of Buddhism of the Great Vehicle and, more specifically, in the context of a Khmer Buddhist context characteristic to Jayavarman VII’s reign. However, one must be wary of too quick a judgement.

The word vihara in its original use, for example, should not be understood with the Theravadin eye of the modern era. On the other hand, all things considered, the one kilometer by seven hundred meters area delimited by the exterior enclosing wall can perhaps be regarded somewhat as a Vat (the modern Buddhist monastery).

Within the walls, many people of diverse capacities made up a cult. Ordinarily, the visitor enters the monument from the west to approach the heart of the complex. However, one must not forget that the ritual entrance was to the east.

Discover all the current projects happening in Ta Prohm Temple

Info and tips for visitor

Date :

12th century

Style

Bayon

Opening hours

7:30 am to 5:30 pm

Reign

Jayavarman VII

Religion

Buddhist

Tour

1 hour to 1h½

Click to take a tour of the photo gallery of Ta Prohm Temple