The next stop on the Cambodia tour that Best Cruises provided took me to the jungle ruins of Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm was built in the 12th century, the ruins followed the Bayon style in architecture. The temple was built by King Jayavarnaman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist university and monastery.
Ta Prohm's most distinctive feature is the roots and branches that have pierced through the ruins. The trees that have sunk their roots into the temples are the strangler figs and silk-cotton trees.
I've noticed that there are few bas reliefs on this temple compared to the other temples on the mini tour. But there are also bas reliefs that depict Buddha and other Hindu gods during the time of the former Khmer empire.
Ta Prohm was deliberately left in a state of neglect because it provided visitors with a sense of nostalgia and a picturesque sight to behold. The temple blended well with the jungle and seems as if the two complemented each other to create an unmistakable experience of the past and present.
Ta Prohm was also one of the temples where Tomb raider was shot. That's my impression of a tomb raider exploring the ruins of Ta Prohm. This leg of the Cambodia tour I was on was different from the rest because of the romantic scene of the jungle slowly devouring what was once a thriving empire.
Ta Prohm made me realize how fast things could change. A thriving empire could suddenly lose its power and be forgotten in an instant. Cambodia was left in shambles during the turn of the 20th century till today. You'd never really think that a poverty-stricken nation like Cambodia had such a powerful imperial past. Cambodia had several wars with its neighboring countries but the Khmer regime was one of the most powerful empires during that time.