Ta Prohm 🛕

Ta Prohm is the modern name of the temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia, built in the Bayon style largely in the late 1The temple dating from 1187 originally was called Rajavihara, meaning “King’s monastery” in Sanskrit. The modern Khmer name “Ta Prohm” means “Old Brahma”. Ta Prohm was even used as a location in the film Tomb Raider. Ta Prohm was a monastery of enormous dimensions, 65 hectare, the size of some contemporary whole cities in contemporary Europe. According to a temple inscription 12,640 people lived here. Thousands of them were monks, but most of the inhabitants were laymen as supporters, including 615 female dancers. The monastery was enormously wealthy, as it had vast stores of silks, pearls, jewels and gold and was in charge of 3400 villages. It was a state within the state.

Banteay Srei 🛕

The name Banteay Srei (sometimes written as ‘Banteay Srey’) translates from Khmer roughly as the ‘citadel of the women’. This name has only been applied recently (that’s ‘recently’ in a scale measured in centuries, so it’s still quite old), most likely because of the pink sandstone and the delicate carvings.

This beautiful 10th-century temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. It has some of the most exquisite carvings of any Khmer temple and has almost a storybook ambience. The detailed carving of the sculptures, lintels, and friezes make it a beautiful structure. The walls are covered with deep, intricate carvings, each one carved with superb detail.

Angkor Wat 🛕

Angkor Wat is an enormous Buddhist temple complex located in northern Cambodia. It was originally built in the first half of the 12th century as a Hindu temple. Spread across more than 400 acres, Angkor Wat is said to be the largest religious monument in the world. Its name, which translates to “temple city” in the Khmer language of the region, references the fact it was built by Emperor Suryavarman II, who ruled the region from 1113 to 1150, as the state temple and political center of his empire. Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, Angkor Wat became a Buddhist temple by the end of the 12th century. It was “rediscovered” in 1840s by the French explorer Henri Mouhot, who wrote that the site was “grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome.” Its five towers are intended to recreate the five peaks of Mount Meru, while the walls and moat below honor the surrounding mountain ranges and the sea.

Angkor Thom 🛕

Angkor Thom, alternatively Nokor Thom located in present-day Cambodia, was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer Empire. It was established in the late twelfth century by King Jayavarman VII. Angkor Thom is undeniably an expression of the highest genius. It is, in three dimensions and on a scale worthy of an entire nation, the materialization of Buddhist cosmology, representing ideas that only great painters would dare to portray.