Ta Prohm Temple – One of the most visited complexes in Cambodia’s Angkor region

Paul Revere
 
 
SHARE:

Ta Prohm is the modern name of the temple at Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. It was built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and it was originally called Rajavihara.

The temple is located approximately one kilometre east of Angkor Thom and on the southern edge of the East Baray, it was founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university.

Unlike most Angkorian temples, this temple has been left in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor’s most popular temples with visitors.

Photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins. Diego Delso/source

In 1186 A.D., Jayavarman VII embarked on a massive program of construction and public works. Rajavihara (“monastery of the king”), today known as Ta Prohm (“ancestor Brahma”), was one of the first temples founded pursuant to that program.

The stele commemorating the foundation gives a date of 1186 A.D.

Roots of a spung running along the gallery of the second enclosure. Diego Delso/source

Jayavarman VII constructed Rajavihara in honour 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, Jayamangalartha, 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 main image of which represented the Bodhisattva of compassion Lokesvara and was modelled on the king’s father.

Originally known as Rajavihara (Monastery of the King), Ta Prohm was a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of King Jayavarman VII. Diego Delso/source

Continued on page 2