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SIEMREAP

Siem Reap is situated about 6 km south of Angkor Wat and 10 km in the north east of Tonle Sap Lake - the biggest lake of Southeast Asia and one of the most fish-populated inland waters in the world.

Siem Reap & Tonle Sap Lake
Siem Reap has approximately 60.000 inhabitants and developed through the integration of some villages, which were built around numerous Wats (Buddhist temples and monasteries).

Angkor Wat
Words are just not enough to describe this incredible complex of temples in the deepest, darkest Cambodian jungle. You have to experience it, to believe it. The temples range in scale from various shapes and sizes of piles of brick rubble scattered through magnificent rice fields towards the intimidating Angkor Wat. Considered a UNESCO world heritage site, be a part of history in witnessing a lost civilization, still standing ground.

Ta Prohm Temple
Ta Prohm Temple (built c. 1186)

Ta Prohm was built during the reign of Jayavarman VII, a great king who reconquered the Khmer empire from Cham invaders in the years 1177-1181. Needless to say, the war caused great damage to the ancient capital of Angkor. The ambitious king set about making it into a proper seat of power by ordering the reconstruction of a number of temples. Ta Prohm was the centerpiece of his masterplan, located roughly in the center of the capital. Though the temple covers barely 2.5 acres, its walls and moat encompass 148 acres, which would have sheltered a town attached to the temple. Here, 12,640 people lived, supported by a population of 79,365 who worked in nearby villages to provide food and supplies.

Ta Prohm housed the deity Prajnaparamita, the 'perfection of wisdom.' It was consecrated in 1186. Like many Khmer kings, Jayavarman had it carved in the likeness of his mother. The Prajnaparamita statue was surrounded by 260 lesser divinities, housed in their own sanctuaries.


Interestingly, the temple was also the headquarters of a vast hospital network created by the good king. From Ta Prohm, supplies filtered out to 102 hospitals located throughout the empire. The Khmer kings seem to have taken the Buddha's call to mercy into their own hands. Nowadays, Ta Prohm is in a sad state of disrepair. Voracious trees called Strangler Figs have damaged much of the complex.

(Source: LUXURY TRAVEL COMPANY)
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