on November 29, 2011
This temple has quite a fitting nickname. It's lovingly known as the Jungle Temple, because the surrounding vegetation is slowly breaking the temple apart. I was looking forward to visiting this temple, to see a particular tree that seems to be growing on the temple walls! I'm not referring to a small shrub, but rather, a full grown massive tree whose roots are decomposing the ruins at a seemingly glacial pace.This was a difficult temple to gain immediate access to. I was visiting Cambodia during the rainy season, which was supposed to be the off peak time to see the ruins. If this was a smaller crowd than what is usually experienced during the high season, I wouldn't have wanted to witness the masses. There was quite a hold up at the entrance to Ta Prohm! Tourists were taking their time, to get their photo with the above mentioned tree, one by one. While this pause was taking place, touts were using the opportunity to their advantage. Everything from wooden jewellry to magnets were literally shoved at me, and their prices were rattled off at loud volumes. The touts were of all ages, from small young girls who look about age 6, to older men and women. They were relentless, to put it mildly.Eventually, I made my way into the actual temple, and there was the tree that I've read about in countless travel blogs! It was amazing, to see nature slowly taking over what mankind built. I've studied about environmental succession, but to see it with my own eyes was quite the experience!Apart from the larger trees, the temples now had a greenish hue about them. I looked closely at the walls, and noticed that this was due to a thick layer of moss which was growing on the temples! Everything from the walls and roof, to the rubble which lay on the ground was turning green, which definitely gave the Jungle Temple a wild side.This was a highlight which lived up to my expectations. The ruins of Angkor were extremely impressive! Despite the unexpected crowds and being bombarded from all directions by touts, I would defintiely visit Cambodia a second time, even if only to pay another visit to the temples.
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