Angkor Wat and the Brilliance of Ta Prohm Temple
The wonder that is Angkor is exemplified by the magnificence of the setting at Ta Prohm temple, where the jungle growth has been sculpted to allow for easy access while maintaining a scenic wonderland of forest and temple grounds. Angkor, the former capital city of the Khmer Empire was one of the largest cities in the world, covering wide regions within Southeast Asia before suffering defeat by Siamese forces in 1431. Hidden by jungle forest for centuries, and although well known to locals and a scant few western visitors, it has since become a well-visited tourist destination and received UNESCO protection in the year 1992.
Ta Prohm is outside the arc of Angkor Wat, Bayon or Elephant Terrace and truly worth the added effort to include within the highlights of ones' visit to Angkor. Its well tended grounds depict a site of somewhat crumbling walls and carvings, embraced by a assemblage of massively rooted Banyan trees that seemingly provide a foothold to the walls and terraces at what surely is one of the finest sites within all of Angkor. Crafted in the 12th century, it was meant as a Buddhist temple dedicated to the Mother of King Jayavarman VII. Ta Prohm, with its enclosed courtyards and narrow passageways, projects a serenity underneath its canopy of towering tree line. A proper visit to the site requires a minimum of two hours and is best planned by being dropped off at the main entrance while slowly proceeding along the narrow pathways and through the courtyards to the rear exit. A photographers delight, the combination of a brilliantly crafted temple grounds intertwined with the sheer power of nature's influence makes Ta Prohm a must visit for any traveler considering Angkor as a destination.
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