An Otherworldly Sight: Strangler Figs Enveloping A Cambodian Tree Root Temple In A Lush Embrace – Amazing Nature

Nature’s Astonishing Reclamation of an Ancient Buddhist Temple.

Ta Prohm, also known as the “Eye of Wisdom,” is a temple situated near the city of Siem Reap in Cambodia. This temple complex was primarily constructed during the late 12th and early 13th centuries, forming a part of the larger architectural ensemble called Angkor Wat. Due to its appearance in the movie “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” (2001), it has garnered the monikers “Tomb Raider Temple” or the “Angelina Jolie Temple.”

Initiated by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII, Ta Prohm was established as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and an educational center dedicated to his mother. Around 80,000 individuals, including 2,700 officials and 615 dancers, were either resident in or associated with the temple. Following the decline of the Khmer Empire in the 15th century, Ta Prohm was abandoned and subsequently left in neglect for centuries.

Image Credit: Diego Delso

Constructed without the use of mortar, the temple’s abandoned state allowed silk-cotton and strangler fig trees to grow and establish roots within the displaced stones. The coexistence of trees, along with the temple’s lush jungle surroundings, has transformed it into a highly coveted destination for visitors to the region.

The Ta Prohm temple has deliberately been preserved in its “untouched state,” aiming to present its original appearance as it was rediscovered in the 19th century. It’s captivating to witness the symbiotic relationship between the trees and the structures, as the survival of one is intricately tied to the other. If one deteriorates, they both suffer.

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