Ta Som

Cambodia November – December 2016 (16 photos)

Following my previous post about Singapore’s Chinatown, we return to Cambodia for part 3 of this series.

Ta Som is only a small Buddhist temple built in the late 12th – early 13th century.

Tour groups generally do not visit this temple yet it has one of the more noteworthy trees of any of the temples – one growing directly on the face tower of the Eastern Gate.

Preah Khan

(I must admit, the thought that those headless statues might come to life did occur to me several times. Too many movies.)

Built by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century, the city temple of Preah Khan is a Buddhist temple that was dedicated to the King’s late father.

As in my previous posts, the use of different editing styles is deliberate.

Incidentally, the nearby temple of Ta Prohm which featured in an earlier post, Lignum Draco and the Temples of Doom was dedicated to the same King’s late mother. And for himself, the King built The Bayon, as featured in Lignum Draco and the Temples of Doom (2). He was quite a busy King.

Being of a similar age to the temple of Ta Prohm, Preah Kahn is in a similar state of overgrowth by nature. Whilst Ta Prohm has walkways installed, Preah Kahn has a more untouched ambience and is definitely worthy of a visit.

I was mesmerised by this tree growing atop this building. An amazing sight.

And the beauty of the elaborate hand carvings should not be forgotten.

Baksei Chamkrong.

A Hindu temple built in the early 10th century. This gives you an idea of just how easily these temples became swallowed up by the jungle.

Phnom Bakheng

A Hindu temple built in the early 10th century, it sits atop a hill, northeast of Angkor Wat. It is extremely popular at sunset. It has unobstructed views to the west, and to the south east it looks over Angkor Wat in the distance.

The view from atop Phnom Bakheng looking towards Angkor Wat (telephoto lens needed).

Sadly, in the 1970s, Phnom Bakheng was a real temple of doom, used as an artillery platform by the Khmer Rouge army. Bullet holes are clearly seen defacing the carvings.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Lignum Draco and the Temples of Doom (3)


68 thoughts on “Lignum Draco and the Temples of Doom (3)

  1. The trees have awareness. There are often little, serene places close to sights that get major traffic. So worth it to seek them out. Splendid photos, as usual.

    • Thank you. I agree, one needs to be observant and receptive when travelling, not just rushing around ticking off the to-do list. There’s much more to be appreciated, as you would know and have shown in your own travels.
      Trees should not be underestimated.

  2. Nice to hear tour groups don’t go to Ta Som as of yet. It looks so peaceful there…tranquility preserved. I like the deliberate editing styles – the sepia tone certainly gives a historical feel about these pictures. Not to mention an Indiana Jones kind of feel too…

    Sad to see those bullet holes, but the architecture still stands. And stands tall. Excellent collection of images again.

    • Thank you. It’s sad that the Khmer Rouge used the various temples as bases and hiding spots. Landmines have been cleared from many of the temples over the years.

      The sepia just seems to fit in nicely with these ancient sites. Maybe it’s an emotional sensation, but I do like it.

    • Thank you.

      I suppose I should mention that my guide was about half an inch shorter than me, which kind of means I can refer to him as Short Round. But I won’t. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now about that whip…

  3. What an amazing trip this must have been, Lignum, and these structures are magnificent!
    I especially love the ones that incorporate trees. Simply perfect. I wonder what the insides look like.
    Happy day to you, my friend.

    • Thank you very much, Lisa. Many of the inside walls are often decorated with carvings similar to the ones I’ve shown. They are used to tell a story about the King , history and battles. There’s a lot to appreciate and enjoy.

      Have a great day ahead.

  4. Man builds edifices but nature eventually wins out. I love the manmade in conjunction with the organic. Again, I love seeing the world through your eyes and appreciate you taking me to places I will never experience in person! Thank you Wood Dragon!

    • Thank you very much. It’s fascinating to see the tree roots coursing along the bricks and columns, reclaiming their territory in a steady but sure advance. At the sometime, the manmade slowly crumbles. It just reinforces the inevitable.

  5. We visited Preah Khan on the morning we were leaving. I was glad that we made time to see it because the overgrowth of it is truly fascinating. You did an incredible job of capturing it.

    • I’m glad you found the time to visit Preah Khan which is more atmospheric than Ta Prohm, to my eyes. It was difficult to walk away from the temple, but there was so much more to see.

  6. A truly lovely tour here, Draco. Your photos are unique and capture many beautiful aspects, I appreciate your b/w, color, and varied editing techniques to this end. Although I have never visited, I am really taken by the banyan trees and the power of life that they have. So many of your photos express this fascinating life force, and I especially liked photos #8 and #9 for this. Wonderful post.

    • My pleasure to show you around this beautiful area. That tree at Preah Khan is amazing to see, as are all the trees, taking over the buildings, reclaiming their territory. Thank you.

  7. These photos are remarkable. You captured the majesty of the ruin, fascinating roots, and its history. I feel like I am there looking up the temple…. in awe!
    Thank you for taking us there, Dragon! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you very much. I think seeing these lost temples completely overgrown by the jungle 100 or 200 years would have been an absolutely amazing and sight. Even today, they are still impressive.

  8. mostruosamente affascinante! trovo le immagini in bianco e nero molto piรน efficaci del colore esprimono a pieno tutto questo ambiente cosรฌ spiritualmente tragicom la natura che sopraffร  l’opera umana, hai reso questo in modo incredibilmente efficiente! grande serial

    • Grazie mille. Credo che la fotografia in bianco e nero aggiunge carattere molto appropriato per questa antica posizione. Byt a volte รจ bello vedere i veri colori.

      Buon fine settimana.

    • Thank you, Sue. Glad to revive some good memories for you. The preservation efforts are fantastic which in turn is stimulating a tourist boom. Siem Reap is apparently a lot different to what it was 10 years ago, with numerous hotels being built. I’m glad I went when I did.

    • Indeed. It’s as if the jungle has rebelled against man’s incursion into the jungle and taken back what is theirs. The kind of scene I would envisage in Middle Earth centuries after the Ents had defeated Saruman and reclaimed Isengard. Ahhh, Middle Earth.

      Thank you, Julie.

  9. LB says:

    The tree growing up and over the Temple is incredible and your images take me to a place that I’m not sure I’ll ever visit in real life. Thank you.

  10. That architecture is amazing. And it’s amazing that so much still exists after all of these centuries (even if a lot is in ruin). The place is mesmerizing — especially with those trees. But, then, I don’t know of much of anything that stops Mother Nature!

  11. Nitin Khanna says:

    Excellent Pictures. Great work and great efforts. As an photographer i can understand how much efforts are required to capture candid shots . Thanks for sharing, it really inspired me.

  12. I just adore ancient places like this!! ๐Ÿ™‚ And your photographs are stunning, do it great justice! I would call myself a spiritual person but not in a traditional religious sense, so don’t know why I like these old temples really, because they represent something I’m not all that comfortable with. But structurally, they are just awesome, an enchanted garden!!!! Love the way that tree has blended with the stone work… hard to believe that would be possible. Quite magnificent…. thanks for taking us on your travels!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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