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Ta Som

Angkor, Cambodia

Temple of the Forest

Situated east of Neak Poan temple and reservoir, the small 12th century temple of Ta Som displays the Bayon style of architecture, known for ornate carved faces adorning its towers. Constructed under the reign of King Jayavarman VII and dedicated to his father, Ta Som features impressive examples of intricate Apsaras and depictions of deities across its weathered sandstone. Wandering through Ta Som’s atmospheric ruins, one truly appreciates the ingenuity of Angkorian architecture, even after exploring the more well known temples. Nowhere was this more apparent than the back corner of the temple grounds, where an ancient doorway had become entirely enveloped by the knarled trunk of a massive strangler fig tree. We stood amazed at the blend of nature's raw power and human craftsmanship, as intricate columns and carved lintels were fused with the twisting folds of the living tree.

Today Ta Som stands as an evocative monument combining religious dedication and artistic splendor. While sacked and damaged over the years, impressive remnants of ornate stonework and imposing trees offer a glimpse into Angkor’s past. Here the strength of nature both destroys and renews, reclaiming the temple while enhancing its awe-inspiring beauty. For us, Ta Som exemplified Angkor’s magic, where even a small and much less visited temple in the back corner of Angkor still possesses wonders that make you stand in awe, and disbelief.


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Situated within Angkor Archaeological Park, east of Angkor Thom, in Siem Reap, Cambodia


Constructed in late 12th century under reign of King Jayavarman VII


Served as a Hindu temple dedicated to the king's father, featuring Bayon style architecture


Stands as an evocative monument in partial ruin, with remnants of intricate carvings and structures fused with trees and jungle foliage


Ta Som

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Temple of the Forest


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