Ta Prohm. Iconic. Atmospheric. This temple complex is slowly being picked apart by the jungle. Huge kapok trees cling to buildings and walls, long, snake-like roots draping down in a careless yet muscular fashion. I was pleasantly surprised by the extent of the ruins here. They just seemed to go on and on, with new discoveries, new areas around every corner.  I found a quiet corner, half jungle/half temple and made lunch out of a can of Angkor Beer, a pomelo and a couple of granola bars.  Soft green light filtered down through the high canopy. I was surrounded by moss covered stone and trees.  Peaceful.

Construction began in 1186, commissioned by Jayavarman VII. It was a Buddhist Monastery that accommodated 12,000 people.

"Every where around you, you see nature in this dual role of destroyer and consoler; strangling on the one hand, and healing on the other; no sooner splitting the carved stones asunder than she dresses their wounds with cool, velvety mosses, and binds them with her most delicate tendrils; a conflict of moods so contradictory and feminine as to prove once more if proof were needed how well "Dame" Nature merits her feminine title."
HW Ponder, Cambodian Glory, The Mystery of the Deserted Khmer Cities and their Vanquished Splendor, and a Description of Life in Cambodia today. (Thornton Butterworth, London, 1936)

I moseyed back out to meet Phirun and we headed back south to Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist monastery that was in continuous use from the 10th century until the 1960s.  Across the way from here is Sra Sei, a peaceful pool of ablutions.  Stopped in at Prasat Kraven and then back into Siem Reap. I had a tasty meal at a small cafe in an alleyway, listening to music from a street band down the way.

Copyright Estate of Anthony Vail Sloan 2009