“Ta Prohm”

Cambodia November 2016 (11 photos)

For my first post of the year, a blockbuster title just seemed appropriate. ๐Ÿ™‚

Angkor is a large region, north of the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia, where the Khmer kings ruled from the 9th century to the 15th century. Each king would build temples as their legacy in stone, to honour the Hindu and Buddhist deities they worshipped. In time the Khmer empire subsided and the temples were forgotten, doomed to be lost to the jungle. It was only within the last 100 years or so that the temples (in varying states of decay) were “rediscovered” and reclaimed from the jungle. Many of the temples are undergoing restoration, but being one of the poorer countries of this World, money dries up quickly and work stops, perhaps never to be resumed.

In this short series of posts, I will present photos of some of the 31 temples I visited across the Angkor region, venturing with my guide as far as the northern and the western borders of Cambodia with Thailand.


These first 4 photos were taken at Ta Prohm, perhaps one of the most famous of the temples due to the giant trees that have overgrown and grow on the temple. Also, appearing as a backdrop to Angelina Jolie in the Tombraider movie may have boosted its fame. As a result of its popularity, tourist hordes descend upon it daily. Against the odds, I was lucky to get some decent wide shots with no tourists in view.


Due to the large crowds, the authorities decided to install walkways to protect the area. Sadly, at least to me, this detracts from the character of the location.


Would you believe the title for this series came to me as I was booking my flights online? ๐Ÿ™‚


“Banteay Kdei”

Above and the following 3 photos were taken at Banteay Kdei, another temple overrun by the jungle. I purposefully used a photo with a man in it above for perspective.


The beauty of the hand carvings from so long ago is incredible.

The mix of photographic editing is deliberate. The vintage cream treatment really appeals to me for this location.


Note the stones were all laid by hand with no bond or cement between them.



“Pre Rup”

Finally in this post, are some shots of Pre Rup, which has virtually unobstructed views to the west. Approaching sunset it is standing room only at the top.



Position. Position. Position.

Edit: I’ve just seen Paula’s latest Photo challenge and this is one of the uncommon times when I can contribute.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Lignum Draco and the Temples of Doom


114 thoughts on “Lignum Draco and the Temples of Doom

    • Thank you very much.

      I agree there’s a balance between keeping the temples open to visitors and preserving what’s left. At least all the temples are open to visitors and efforts are underway to preserve the heritage.

  1. Nice to see you back LD and with a beautiful set of images as usual. I like the effect a lot, my favourite being the delightful carved dancer. And I’m not sure I would be so relaxed poised on chunks of stone that aren’t bonded together and obviously tumbling to the ground, as that last photographer was!

    • Thank you very much, Jude. I saw some antique style printed photos of Angkor, and immediately loved the effect.

      I must admit, I was a bit tentative with my steps at times. Surprising much of the stonework has held up very well.

  2. George Clooney staring as the Wood Dragon when they make the movie??
    just LOVE all the photos and the b& w and chrome ones especially.
    always wanted to go there…. will enjoy this series instead.
    thanks Draco ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Debbie. Maybe Mat Damon. George is getting a bit on in years. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Apparently Angkor is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world at the moment. No doubt increased tourist numbers that will have an effect on these beautiful ruins.

      • yeah its become pretty popular, i believe. did you know that theres a lot of astronomical research to say it was aligned to Cygnus?
        yeah point taken about george C, a bit too old in the tooth. Matt Damon it is. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • yes that’s it….. a lot of the ancient sites were aligned to particular stellar bodies… Angkor Wat is the only one I know of aligned to Cygnus. the theory – or one of them – is that they were built to align earth after the tilt – so that people could navigate their way to observing the heavens -realigning to ‘true east and true west’…. the rivers in China all run west-east too, which is another interesting but possibly random fact. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Welcome back, Draco! What a spectacular return…a wonderful set of photographs. The ancient ruins, the ornate stone work, and huge trees and root systems bring back memories of the sensory and emotional overload I felt at Machu Picchu several years ago. Amazing places…

  4. Apparently most of the salient comments have already been made, but what really caught my attention was the enormous tree with its contorted roots. Amazing all around, both structures and tree.


    • My pleasure. It’s not an easy place to forget. Although I could have done without the heat and humidity. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’ve been sitting on that title for a while. Glad to finally publish it. Maybe I can strike a movie deal. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. SO HAPPY TO HAVE YOU BACK, LD! I smiled even before I read a word.
    These are wonderful photos. I was there 10 years ago, but your photos are 1000 times sharper and better than mine. I, actually, think your photos are better than the real scene.;-)
    Have a great day.

    • Thank you, Helen. Just thinking of that title makes me smile. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m glad my photos could remind you of your own visit to Angkor. The real thing is better, except for the heat and humidity. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. i templi sono stupefacenti, cesellati ed ornati in ogni piรน piccolo centimetro di costruzione, ma sono gli impianti radicali degli alberi ad avermi oltrmodo colpita! rassomigliano a lunghe mani di demoni che ghermiscono, pronte a distruggere le costruzioni fatte dagli umani!
    la foto del tempio rilesso nell’azzurro incredibile!
    immagino quali grandi emozioni avrai riportato da queso viaggio-avventura
    felice sera

  7. Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples take you deep into something magical and eerie. It is always a pleasure to wander through them with other people’s picutres. And yours are particularly beautiful. Thanks for taking me back, again…

  8. a m a z i n g โ™ฅ you have captured the magic of these places so beautifully…
    I’ve seen photos these giant trees (from the first shots), but they really seem impressive in your photos…
    I was wondering when will you be back Lignum ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Oh, fabulous! Thanks for the Virtual visit – I was meant to go a couple of years ago, but my health nosedived, and I shan’t get there now….

    • Thank you. I received both comments. I think the system experiences lags every now and then and things don’t work as they should, or after a delay.

      It was a wonderful trip. I was in Cambodia for 10 days. Enjoyed it immensely. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. J.D. Riso says:

    Just magnificent. The title of the series is absolutely perfect for a secret agent such as yourself. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have you ever seen the documentary “Quest for a Lost Civilization” by Graham Hancock? You can watch it on YouTube. He has a fascinating theory about ancient civilizations such as Angkor and ancient astronomers. You may be very surprised to learn which particular constellation is connected to Angkor. A special synchronicity for you. โœจ

  11. What a beautiful surprise this is, Draco! I am very flattered that you linked ๐Ÿ™‚ Mesmerising place. Your captures are wonderful, especially in black and white. Thank you.

  12. Pingback: BLACK & WHITE SUNDAY: TRACES OF THE PAST Y3-02 | Lost in Translation

  13. You can always be counted on to take me to places I would never see on my own. Despite the walkway I just love the third image in your post. I can easily see myself there, lost in a world of intrigue.

    • Thank you very much. I guess I have a slight OCD component. For the atmosphere of the shot, yes I would love for the walkway to not be there. Actually being there, it didn’t affect my experience of the temple. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Incredible photos
    Makes me want to go there
    and feeds my mind with
    lots of questions about why
    the tree and the roots appear to be
    in top of this ancient structure.
    Maybe I’m naive but how exactly
    does that happen or
    It is simply a fluke of nature that a tree
    Would find a resting ground or a
    place to grow
    in top of this ancient temple
    Or did the temple get built
    Underneath a beautiful tree
    With very deep roots?

    • Thank you. Such are the vagaries and wonder of Nature. But there does seem to be a magical synergy between the jungle and the ancient temples. It makes you wonder about our temporary existence on this planet.

      The scientific response is a lot more succinct.

  15. The trees!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ They have overwhelming character, and in some cases are literally overwhelming – a building. Like arms and hands grasping man made things. They all seem so different too. Funny how some areas you go to, the trees all the look the same, but here, they really don’t.

    I like the vintage look you’ve given some of the pictures, it suits the venue very well.

    I agree with you about about the man made walkways, but I guess they must have been worried about feet wearing away steps… maybe?

    Very haunting indeed, and I mean that in the best sense of the word, kind of magical haunting. You did it great justice. I’m sure some people viewing this will have to visit now! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It’s a strange sight seeing all those trees just growing over the temples. In some areas the tree roots are destroying the buildings, and in some areas the tree roots are supporting the buildings, stopping them from collapsing. And to think the temples were lost/forgotten for so long, hidden by the jungle. The power of Nature is unmistakeable.

      Thank you very much. I hardly did any sepia tinting until now. It was just a perfect match.

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