Ta Prohm is one of the most visited temple complexes in Angkor. It is photogenic and has a unique atmosphere with it’s “jungle” setting and many examples of ruins in the clasp of strangler figs, silk-cottons and titpoks.
Ta Prohm was built by King Jayavarman VII as a monastery and university, it was dedicated to his mother and is one of his earliest projects. It used to be home to over 12,000 inhabitants and a massive wall encloses an area of 650,000 square meters! What makes Ta Prohm unique is that French archeologists made a conscious decision to leave it mostly unrestored and allowing nature to reclaim it’s architecture.
Ta Som is in turn dedicated to King Jayavarman VII’s father and is built in a similar style and time as Ta Prohm and it is also largely unrestored. The East entrance has one of the finest examples of Angkor’s stone strangling trees, sadly this tree has died and is decomposing.
Ta Som is much smaller than Ta Prohm and is surrounded by a moat and has an Eastern and Western entrance featuring Bayon style faces which are smaller than those at Bayon itself, these gates are set in a surrounding wall measuring about 200m by 240m. The interior galleries feature interesting and individual carvings, some of surprising quality.