Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fashionista's Travels: Ta Phrom Temple

Before you read this, I would like to apologize for not writing/ blogging as often as I would like to. Work has been rather manic so my time devoted to blogging has been limited to weekends (it used to include weekday nights but now that I'm preggers, I've committed myself to an earlier than usual sleeping time thus no blogging during weekday nights).

Ta Phrom temple is also known as the Tomb Raider temple (due to it being in one of the shooting locations of the movie) but despite the nickname I've noticed that Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple are also featured in the movie. So the nickname could be due to the very distinguishing feature of the temple, which is a tree growing and molding itself to the temple walls and roof (just scroll down and you'll see the photos), and I must admit, seeing it (the tree and all) is absolutely breathtaking.

So, as an amateurish traveler, I have to admit, Ta Phrom temple is definitely one of the best temples in the Angkor Wat complex I've ever been too (and unfortunately I wasn't able to visit all) and I'll show you why in this blog.

Oh, before you start reading, you might want to refresh your memory on the Tomb Raider movie. Let's see if you can notice which one is Ta Phrom temple.

And this is how the plan of the temple complex looks like. The temple is not that big, there are other temples that are bigger, but it's quite a walk from the entrance (where your tuk-tuk driver would be leaving you). It really does look like a hidden temple in the middle of the forest (considering that you have to walk about at least 10 minutes to reach the temple). 

And this greeted us (after then 10 minute walk that is). A pretty sight, isn't it? I still can't believe that a temple like this would exist right in the middle of the jungle and I could understand why it was chosen as one of the movie locations. It looks almost deserted and in a way, for a moment (before the hordes of tourists come crashing in anyway) you could really believe that you are in another time, transported to the past. The temple was built about a century ago, you know. 

A temple in ruins (and a little walk further you'll find that some parts of the temple is currently being restored too). Come to think of it, if you've been around for hundreds of years you'd be in ruins too.

A carving of the dinosaur on the temple walls? Interesting...

Moss covered temple walls.

Here's the first tree (there's quite a few apparently) that we saw that had already attached its roots quite firmly onto the temple walls. I wonder if it's the trees that's holding the temple structure together...

This really reminded me of the scene in Tomb Raider where Angelina Jolie was running away from the temple as it started to crumble. Looking at the size of those stones, I wouldn't want to be stuck in this temple during a storm for sure. 

Here's another tree and I must admit, this is among my favorite photos of Ta Phrom, the ruins of the temple in complete disarray in comparison with the firmness and stability of the tree.

Carvings on the temple walls.

This is actually the center of the temple complex, its ruined stone walls arranged (most probably by the temple caretakers) at the left and right of the temple walkway.

This is what happens when you're looking up to take a shot and rain starts pelting on your camera lens. September is not really a good time to visit Siem Reap (it was raining almost daily when we were there, thus explaining why we weren't able to visit more temples than we should have), but we were lucky enough to have visited at least the three main temples in the Angkor Wat complex (i.e. Angkor Wat, Bayon temple and Ta Phrom temple).

Decided to take another shot with my iPhone. 

And took refuge inside the temple corridors when the rain got heavier (lucky for us the rain lasted for only about 10 minutes).

If you like, you can get these paintings as a souvenir of your trip (don't worry, you can find these paintings being sold all over Siem Reap).

Temple restoration in progress.

And this is how the temple looks like from the back entrance. The best thing about walking to (and back from) this temple is that you don't need to turn back the way you walked in. So in a way you can actually explore the whole temple and walk to the other end of the temple (your tuk-tuk driver will most probably be waiting for you there). But still, the walk out of the temple complex is almost as long as the walk in so wear comfortable shoes (or in my case, I took to wearing flip flops due to the unpredictable weather).

I must say that Siem Reap is a wonderful place to visit. It's a complete contrast to Phnom Penh (but I'll get to that in my future posts). The history and culture is amazing (and it's even more amazing to find out that these rulers of centuries past actually came from Indonesia; made me kinda proud to be part Indonesian, Javanese to be exact). For those who plans to visit Siem Reap, I do recommend a visit through the Angkor Wat complex as well as the Angkor Museum (preferably visit the museum first so that you'd have a better appreciation of the temples and their history). 

Let's travel more, shall we?

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

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