high-definition creative commons photographs from this Angkorian site in Cambodia, the most famous of the largely unrestored places where nature has overgrown the original temple, together with further information, a video and a map.
Ta Prohm is the modern name of a temple built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and originally called Rajavihara (the Royal Temple). It was founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found, only the jungle brush and the most destructive growth being cut away.
After ascending the throne of Cambodia in 1181 A.D., Jayavarman VII embarked on a massive program of construction and public works. Rajavihara, today known as Ta Prohm, was one of the first temples founded pursuant to that program. The stele commemorating the foundation gives a date of 1186 A.D.
Jayavarman VII constructed Rajavihara in honor of his family. The temple's main image, representing Prajnaparamita, the personification of wisdom, was modelled on the king's mother. The northern and southern satellite temples in the third enclosure were dedicated to the king's guru and his elder brother respectively. As such, Ta Prohm formed a complementary pair with the temple monastery of Preah Khan, dedicated in 1191 A.D.
The temple's stele records that the site was home to more than 12,500 people (including 18 high priests and 615 dancers), with an additional 80,000 people in the surrounding villages working to provide services and supplies. The stele also notes that the temple amassed considerable riches, including gold, pearls and silks. Expansions and additions to Ta Prohm continued as late as the rule of Srindravarman at the end of the 13th century.
Text adapted from Wikipedia (retrieved, March 2nd 2010)
Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu
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