FOR MANY, Ta Prohm is the highlight of all Cambodia. Jungle vines and roots crawl over, around and through the temple buildings. 1 tonne stones litter the ground and graceful apsara wear coats of moss.
“Restoration” was never attempted, although efforts to halt and reverse the damage have taken place.
Built in 1186, Ta Prohm is one of Cambodia's most famous temples.
Reclaimed in large parts by the relentless jungle, it is certainly the most atmospheric.
Massive roots of silk cotton trees strangle roofs, halls and walls.
Moss, lichen, and creepers envelope bas reliefs and fallen stones.
In its own era, the temple was known as Rajavihara, the 'Royal Monastery'.
12,640 people lived at the temple, and 79,365 worked in nearby villages.
The temple itself is just 2.5 acres, but its walls and moat cover 148 acres.
After defetaing the Chams and restoring the Khmer empire, Jayavarman VII, embarked on a temple building and restoration mission.
Ta Prohm, which he dedicated to his mother, was central to that plan.
The march of time waits for no man, or no king and his temple.
807 years later, I marvelled at both the power of nature and the Khmer builders.
Massive trees grow though, from or up against the temples many pavillions and halls.
Access now is more limited, with many interior galleries deemed unsafe.
Archeologists are focused on preservation, to ensure that neither man nor nature inflicts more damage on this extraordinary place.
Trees cannot be removed in some places as they are integral to the buildings stability.
Walkways, barriers and stabilizing framework have been installed over the years.
To enoy this place in such a raw condition with almost no other visitors was one of my life's great privileges.
Featured on BBC and in Lonely Planet, humble sweeper Chuon Nhiem started working at Ta Prohm in 1941. He hung up his broom in 2008, and died in 2009 age 87.