Saturday, June 13, 2015

Boundless Awe in Ta Promh (Angkor Wat Complex, Cambodia)

I never get tired of Ta Promh, the temple built by King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. This was going to be a place for learning as well as a dwelling for the monks. Built between 12th and 13th century, Ta Promh, aka Rajavihara, is built in the Bayon style. These days, huge silk cotton trees and strangler fig trees with gigantic adventitious roots have coiled among the ruins. I was as amazed on my second visit as when I saw it for the first time. I suspect that the novelty won't wane even on a third visit.

Another feature of this site is the dearth of narrative bas-relief found aplenty in other temples. One explanation: Hindu iconoclasts destroyed most of them during the death of Jayavarman. This culture of destruction keeps on repeating time and again. Why is man so destructive? One wonders. These days, India is helping in the restoration of the site.

Ta Promh is located 1 kilometer from Angkor Thom, roughly 6 kilometers from Siem Reap in North Cambodia.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

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