Hey guys, today we are going into a temple called ‘Ta Prohm’ Temple in Cambodia. Archeologists think it was built in the late 12th century, so this temple is about 800 years old. What is the meaning of Ta Prohm? Ta Prohm means ‘Ancestor Brahma’ – Cambodians consider Brahma, the Hindu God of Creation, as one of their ancestors. But the original name of this temple was RajaVihara, which means the Rest-House of the King, in Sanskrit language . The temple is known for 2 important features: One, is the carving of a dinosaur, specifically a stegosaurus – it is there on one of the walls, I made a video about this sometime ago. The second feature, is that trees, giant trees have taken over this temple. I mean, the way these trees have really grown and destroyed this temple is a very strange sight. How did this happen? The Cambodians abandoned this entire city and moved out about 500 years ago. This is why you see bushes and trees growing in many of the temples in this city, but this temple has some kind of weird energy that attracts plants and birds. You do see a lot of birds and of course, gigantic trees. In fact, ancient builders had predicted that this temple, would be taken over by trees, there are carvings which show exactly what would happen to the temple in the future. There are many small shrines within this temple, let us go into one of these shrines and see what is in there. There must have been some statues originally, but today, you can see the ceiling and even the walls have collapsed. Giant stone blocks have fallen on the ground, making it impossible to determine what was originally there. If you look at the side view, it has the shape of a chariot. It is very intriguing to see how the nearby forest and the temple have slowly merged together at some point in time. The temple has become very popular among Americans, and they take a lot of pictures while standing under these huge trees overgrown on temples. This specific location was used in the movie Tomb Raider and the temple, which was unknown until then, became a huge tourist destination after the movie. Today, the Indian Government is funding a restoration project and the archaeology department of India is partnering with the Cambodian Government and restoring many of the structures in this temple. You can see the before and after pictures, they are doing some very good work. This temple has many interesting carvings, but many of them are destroyed by trees. Look at the roots, they look like giant snakes taking over the temple. Here we can see a strange figure carved on the wall. What is it? It is a Naga, a 5 headed snake, but something is wrong with this picture. Where is the rest of its body? If we look at the wall, we can see some clues. We can see a leg with massive claws at the bottom, snakes don’t have legs. And we can see giant wings spreading on both sides. Something spectacular was carved here. What is it? The carving would have looked like this, this is a carving from a nearby temple. A giant bird like deity called Garuda, firmly holding down 2 Nagas with his 2 legs on the ground. And he is holding the tails of the Nagas high above his head. There is no doubt that the Ta Prohm temple once had a giant carving of this spectacular Garuda tormenting the Nagas. And sadly, this carving was deliberately destroyed by human beings, this is not the effect of nature. But what is Garuda doing to the Nagas? In Indian Hinduism, Garuda is merely shown holding the naga with his hands or sometimes his beak. But in South East Asia, the Garuda is shown holding the Naga’s head down with his legs while holding the tail above. Cambodians tell a strange story. The Garuda hunted Nagas all the time, so the Nagas feared that their entire species might become extinct. The Nagas knew the Garuda usually caught the Nagas by holding their middle of the body. So, the Nagas came up with a clever plan. All the Nagas swallowed heavy stones, so it becomes impossible for the Garuda to lift them. However, they underestimated the sharp eyesight of Garuda, who could see their actions while flying at a very high altitude. From this moment on, Garuda began holding the Nagas’ heads down and lifting and lowering the tail of the Naga, just like how we do the battle ropes in the gym. The stones were rolled within the body of Naga and the Naga could not spit them out either, because Garuda’s legs are on his head. Thus the Nagas were killed by the “Battle Ropes” technique. This is a very interesting story, but to understand the symbolisms in this story, we may have to meditate on it.
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