this temple is special for two reasons: first and foremost, this was where angelina jolie supposedly filmed tomb raiders; and second, this was where all our cameras’ batteries died out. that’s the problem with the universe — when she notices that you’re pretty hyped up for something, she always finds a way to spoil it for you. purely for her entertainment. i still love her, though. because she sent us a local tour guide who lived nearby. the one who claimed carried angelina jolie’s handbag while they were shooting on location. lucky him. i’d kill to carry angelina jolie’s trash! lol.
it’s a good thing we were able to take a couple of shots of the place, though. ta prohm is an amazing place. seriously.
on the outside, right where the entrance is, it’s an unassuming stone temple the likes of which i have seen with the previous temples we visited. but that was my jaded little self talking. ‘coz the moment i stepped inside, i was blown away.
i don’t know what my problem is but put me in a beautiful place and i have this stupid tendency to look up and see what aerial view i may find. put me in a beach and i’d scan the sky for clouds. put me in ta prohm and i’d still find myself doing that! but you gotta admit the shadow of leaves and the branches against the blue sky can be quite charming. at least i didn’t feel so stupid gazing upwards when everyone else was raving about the great tree roots which grew over and under the temples after it was abandoned to its own fate for about 500 years.
look at those roots! it’s amazing and creepy at the same time. what you see here in ta prohm only goes to show who’s in charge. but really, it’s a symbiotic relationship. the trees stabilize and protect the temples from collapsing, just as the temples support the trees. it has been said that the seeds of the trees grew from the nutritive qualities of the moss covering the roof. as the years passed, the tree had to extend its roots downward, around the temple walls, to be able to absorb water and other nutrients from the ground for it to survive. and indeed, both temples and trees are surviving. for now.
this is an interesting root formation. i don’t know if you noticed, but it sure looks like a serpent. or maybe that’s just the human brain trying to find recognizable patterns out of something abstract.
this here is the echo chamber, a place of prayer and meditation. it’s called “echo chamber” because, well, if you go inside, lean against the cold stone walls and beat the left side of your chest, you would be able to hear the echo of your own heart.
of course i went ahead to try it. i pounded my ribcage to a point of fracturing them but all i heard was a very soft echo, if none at all. i think i may be half-dead. either that or i’m heartless, both literally and figuratively. (i think i was a special case. my cousin and my sister tried it too and they didn’t have a problem getting back an echo at all!)
(excuse the other tourists loitering around the area. we were there at 3pm so the whole place was swarming with tourists. it was close to a miracle if we were able to take pictures that were, uh, tourist-free.)
oh, and this one here is kind of like a secret, as not everyone who has been to ta prohm knows about this — the face of an apsara peeking through a window of roots. tourists just pass by it. we would have too if our guide didn’t lead us out of the tourist path. you see it?
here’s a close-up. it’s kind of creepy looking at this half-hidden carving. like she’s just there, unnoticed, watching the people pass by. you don’t see her but she sees you…
this area is a tourist favorite. we had to wait for the koreans to finish their little photoshoot before we went ahead with ours —
another shameless jump shot, i know. can’t hold it against us. as far as i’m concerned, for as long as i’m arthritis-free, i’m gonna do it over and over and over again! i’m not gonna be young forever, you know. so let my knees and lungs handle it while they still can. lol.
this is a sacred room in the middle of the temple. it has been said that the king’s mother was buried here. (oh, i forgot to tell you, ta prohm was a buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of king jayavarman VII.)
and those holes from floor to ceiling around the chamber? our guide said they used to be filled with diamonds. i was like, “wow! for real?!” i mean, if that is true then you can just imagine how insanely rich the khmer empire was. with diamonds sparkling around the four corners of the room, who the hell needs a light bulb?