is a small temple at Angkor, Cambodia

Ta Som Temple Ta Som Temple

Ta Som Temple built at the end of the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII.

Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Ta Prohm the temple was left largely unrestored.

Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Ta Som is surrounded by a moat and enclosed by three laterite.

Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Ta Som Temple is located north east of Angkor Thom and just east of Neak Pean.

Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Ta Som is accessed from the eastern Mebon.

Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Sitting pretty at Ta Som.

Tam Som Temple, Cambodia Tam Som Temple, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prohm… are likely the most well-known temples in Angkor Complex of Cambodia. People come here to see these temples firsthand and admire their outstanding architecture. But sometimes, they forget that there are still other unknown structures with their own attractiveness. And it is Ta Som Temple, a less prominent landmark among many temples that is the place I would like to recommend you in this article.

Ta Som is a small Buddhist temple belonging to Angkor Thom Complex in Cambodia, lying in the east of Neak Pean artificial island. Constructed under the reign of King Jayavarman VII (1181 – 1218), this temple aims to worship this king’s father (King Dharanindravarman II). Compared with many other temples built under the reign of this king, it is quite small. It has the only stupa located on a high mound and surrounded by a laterite wall.

Like Bayon Temple, Ta Som Temple also has big statues carved with the image of human face in four directions in the stupa in eastern and western gopuras. Corridors of the temple are sculptured with the image of apsara dancers and gods.

Like other temples including Preah Khan, Ta Prohm,… Ta Som was also deserted at war time and surrounded by green trees. The vegetation covering the whole temple and walls seems to make Ta Som become more mysterious like a remnant of the war time. That also explains why this landmark attracts some tourists each year. They come here with the eagerness to discover this ancient temple. In 1998, it was partly restored to serve as a tourist attraction.

In terms of architecture, Ta Som Temple is surrounded by a moat and laterite walls. It has a central tower and two gopuras in two different directions. The main one is in the east and the side one is in the west. Currently, the main gopura remains intact while the other is collapsed and shored up by wooden pillars.

The gopura is in the shape of rectangle and contains a small room with windows overlooking the balcony on each side. There is a four-side image of the Buddha sculptured on the gopura in the similar style to that of Bayon Temple. The western entrance used to have a large Spong tree on top, but it was removed after it had died in the 1950s. Now there is an old tree growing right on the top of the eastern entrance, which creates the mysteriousness and sanctity of the temple. Inside the main temple are the rectangular room and 2 small libraries lying on two sides of the eastern gopura.

Excavators left Ta Som Temple in the advanced state of ruin. Though archeologists continue to clear debris and reassemble certain structures, it still remains pleasantly disheveled. Ta Som Temple reminds us that we can only borrow from the Earth for a long time.

In fact, Ta Som Temple is neglected by archaeologists, excavators and even tourists. Not surprisingly, discovering Ta Som somehow becomes a unique and interesting experience for those who are adventurers.

In this day and age, Ta Som Temple is one of the numerous temples which can be visited at Angkor. Both of its outer entrance gopuras are great examples of well-preserved towers depicting Avalokiteshvara.  Each of temples in Angkor Complex has a different character and Ta Som’s smaller scale and beautiful sculpture ensure that travelers finding it out will be treated to another piece of Angkor’s history and artistic treasures. So it is no exaggeration to say that Ta Som Temple is also a remaining wonder among a lot of wonders in Angkor Complex. It is deserved to be restored, preserved and listed as a fascination destination.

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