One of the best temples I have had been while in Angkor was the Ta Phrom and this is what I saw, a sitting Buddha where scented candles were offered and a lighted one too. As I walked briskly pass by the statue, I was amazed at how beautifully it was made and celebrated by both locals and tourists alike. I have the seeming affection for this and cultures where faith manifests in so many manners we practice it. This one I saw is inspiring and genuinely Khmer.
Ta Phrom Temple
One of the few temples I have come to visit is made famous by the film of Angelina Jolie aptly titled Lara Croft: Tomb Raider which I have also seen back then and now, I am in the very same temple she went into and experiencing it firsthand. Ta Phrom is where the temples were made famous because of the gigantic tree roots overcoming the temple complex and temple walls. It is the very same temple that evoked teasure-hunting style of the film and one which also evoke in me the kind of journey that made me look for special figures like Dvarapala and Devata along its very walls and windows.
Built in the late 12th to 13th centuries, the style of the temple is characteristically of Bayon influence and was made during the reign of King Jayavarman VII and the temple complex was expanded by Indravarman II. Intended as a temple for his Queen Mother, the temple was installed in 1186 in honor of its most respected and famous goddess, Prajnaparamita otherwise known as the “Perfection of Wisdom”.
While inside the Ta Phrom temple, I met a cool and generous Cambodian gentleman who guided me to the Echo Tower where one leans on the wall inside the temple and beat his heart where the echo sounds like a bell. I beat my heart so heavily and strongly that it created an echo reverberating over the tower.
Afterwards, this fine Cambodian gentleman told me secretly that he will show me one of its hidden secrets that not all tourists and guides knew. It is the devata that was featured in the film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. I gamely followed him and he instructed me to silently and unassumingly walk pass many other tourists. We made counterflow moments of where mostly tourist comes our way from their sightseeing. He suddenly stop and asked me to stand in front of me and he was guiding me from behind asking me to point the camera to the gigantic roots inside the central towers of Ta Phrom.
Right across me was an image of a devata covered by gigantic roots and to my surprise; I was the only one inside its very location. I asked him if I can come near and he gave me permission. I took it off with my camera and this was perhaps, the most memorable journey I had been to in Angkor Wat.
Indeed Ta Phrom is one great temple of wisdom and ego echoing from the heart. I learned it by heart, I have known by heart. Ta Phrom is greatness inside the heart.