Ta Prohm Cambodia

Ta Prohm Temple


  • Date: 1186 A.D.
  • Reign of construction: Jayavarman VII (1181-1218)
  • Cult: Buddhist temple
  • Art Style: Bayon
  • Clearance work: G. Commaille 1908-1911)

The outside enclosure of the temple consists of a large laterite wall about 1000m long by 700m wide with four entrances on the every axis. The central block is about 400m from the east or west entrance and is among the largest of the monument in the Angkor Complex. The inscription gives an idea of the size of the temple. The complex include 260 statues or idols, 39 towers with pinnacles and 566 groups of residences.

It was dedicated in 1186 to shelter the image of the queen mother in the likeness of Prajnaparamita "the perfection of wisdom" and 260 other images including the master or spiritual father of the king. The great stele gives us much information about the number of personnel in the temple, its property and all supplies needed for the cult. The stele says that the temple owned:

  • 3,140 villages with 79,365 taxpayers
  • 12,640 people live in the wall of the temple
  • 18 great priests
  • 2,740 officiates
  • 2,202 assistants
  • 615 dancers

The Property:

  • A set of silver dishes weighing more than 5,000kg
  • 35 diamonds
  • 40,620 pearls
  • 4,540precious stones
  • An enormous golden bowl
  • 876 veils from China
  • 512 silk beds
  • 523 parasols.

The list of supplies needed for daily offerings: rice, butter, milk, molasses, oil, seeds. The amount needed for special feasts and list of goods furnished each year by the Royal treasury: seeds, milk, honey, oil, wax sandal, camphor, 2,387 sets of clothing to adorn the statues.

The inscription ends: "Doing these good deeds, the king with extreme devotion to his mother, made this prayer: that because of the virtue of the good deeds I have accomplished, my mother, once delivered from the ocean of transmigration, may enjoy the state of Buddha".

The mystery of the jungle mingle with the mystery of the ancient galleries and halls. The lack of care in construction particularly at the end of the 12th century is one of the causes of the ruined state of the monuments. The chaotic condition of some of them, has sometimes been attributed to a systematic destruction, the consequences of a total war perhaps. The motive was pure vandalism or religious fanaticism that is the search under the pedestals and around the bases of the towers for treasury-- included some gold-leaf and some gems. The reach these relies, treasure-hunters did not hesitate to knock over the statue, break the pedestal set fire when necessary, dig holes in the bases and split open the stones to get out the T-irons.

Other causes were natural forces which operated silently but all the same effectively. In tropical countries where the climate is wet, an abandoned building laid open to the rain and termites, is promptly overgrown with vegetation and is destined to speedy destruction.

Angkor Achaeological Site Map