Temple of Ta Prohm | Takeo

Ta Prohm Temple at Takeo 

Ta Prohm Temple Front Entrance

Front Entrance,Ta Prohm Temple, Takeo

I was quite excited to see our first temple at Takeo. Takeo is a province of Cambodia. The provincial capital is also named Takeo.  Takeo town has a population of 39,186, and is 77km from Phnom Penh.

Ta Prohm Temple at Takeo, is a temple of the Angkorian period, constructed during the reign of  King Jayavarman VII (1181-c.1220).  Blocks stacked rather unevenly in sections, one wonders what has happened to this temple over the centuries. The temple is quite haphazard in many places.

Ta Prohm Temple, Takeo

Deeply pitted laterite blocks.Ta Prohm Temple, Takeo

Common use of laterite – Ta Prohm, Takeo

Many temples were built using  laterite blocks. Laterite blocks were often used as the main building material, particularly for foundations, core strength and support. Laterite is a very rough pitted block, a beautiful texture adding to the ancient appearance of the temple. I just loved the beautiful rough texture of this stone, especially with the added contrast of bright green moss and lichen.

Takeo, Ta Prohm Temple. Little children in the temple grounds.

Takeo, Ta Prohm Temple. Little children in the temple grounds.

Apparently, laterite is a soft iron rich clay, cut from the ground in blocks.  It hardens significantly when left in the air and the sun, which speaks for itself when you look at the age of this temple and how the laterite blocks have weathered.

Ta Prohm corner view with-devatas. Takeo

Ta Prohm Temple corner view with-devatas. Takeo

Well preserved decorations at Ta Prohm – Takeo

As you can imagine decoration would be difficult on the  deeply pitted surface of laterite  without the use of stucco to face the blocks.  Sandstone has a much smoother surface, and was widely used in temple building, especially  for areas of carving and decorative work.

Young boy playing Cambodian Xylophone. Temple Ta Prohm, Takeo

Young boy playing Khmer Xylophone. Temple of Ta Prohm, Takeo

A  young man plays a traditional Cambodian musical instrument, a Khmer xylophone, outside the main temple entrance. The sound was very pleasant to the ears. A Khmer xylophone is known as an  “Roneat ek”. The roneat ek is built in the shape of a curved,rectangular shaped boat. It has twenty-one thick bamboo or hard wood bars. It is played with two long beaters about 40 cm long with soft disks for indoors, or hard disks for playing outdoors.

A Cambodian women was busy sweeping the area around the temple. The temple grounds were spotless. I think it is a Khmer family who look after the temple and grounds,  keeping its appearance  so fresh and inviting.

Guide explaining story on carved panel, Ta Prohm Temple, Takeo

Guide explaining story on stone relief, Ta Prohm Temple, Takeo

Ancient stone reliefs and carvings Ta Prohm – Takeo

Our guide explained the stories behind the stone reliefs, and the beautiful carving on the lentil above the temple door. Inside the main temple is a large statue of the Buddha. You may wish to light a candle to place in front of the Buddha, and leave a small donation. You will find it is greatly appreciated.

Ta Prohm temple- carved Buddha on Lintel above main temple door, Takeo

Reclining Buddha, lintel above main temple door. Ta Prohm temple. Takeo

On the temple walls, well-preserved in one particular area are carvings of  devatas. Deva is the Hindu term for deity. A devata is the divine guardian spirit of sacred places.  Devatas often occur in Hindu epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata, and in some Buddhist  scriptures. Ta Prohm Temple is dedicated to Brahmanism and Buddhism.

Ta Prohm Temple - detail of devata. Takeo

Ta Prohm Temple – detail of devata. Takeo

A sacred place – Ta Prohm Temple at  Takeo

Temples were not considered a place of worship in general, but a sacred place for the statue of the deity. The temples, considered the most important building in a city were always built with stone. The height of the tower rising above the center temple indicates its importance, as does the amount of decoration on the walls. Other buildings in the cities were of timber or bamboo. Houses and other important building have long since vanished with little trace, where the stone temples have  endured for centuries.

Ta ProhmTemple ruins. Takeo

Ta Prohm Temple ruins. Takeo

Exploring the old temple and grounds, with its ancient crumbling walls overgrown with plants and vines was an enjoyable experience. It is so full of atmosphere. If only the walls could speak, what a history they would have to tell!

Ancient Temple Walls TaProhm, Takeo

Ancient Temple Walls – Ta Prohm, Takeo

On the way to Kep……………

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  1. These photos are beautiful, Lyn. The rock carvings and temples are just unbelievable. I also noticed that the placed is filled with trees and plants. The green background gives a relaxing vibe to the place.

    • It surprising just how a few colored shrubs and greenery can make such a difference to the overall impression of a site. Ta Prohm is a an interesting temple in very pretty surroundings, and we had time to enjoy it all. Thnks

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