To avoid the CROWDS of frightfully-behaved tourists from the Motherland shoving and shouting for a view of the fabled sunrise at Ankor Wat, I went instead to Ta Phrom, the temple most recognised as the one in Tomb Raider.
I walk through ancient gates, and then through forest grounds. At 7am, the morning was coolish, and the throngs of tourists have not descended yet. The first sighting of Ta Phrom halts.
The tree is omnipresent, emerging from what feels like the temple’s heart. Close by, there are scattered ruins, hinting of what is to come.
Parts of Ta Phrom have been cordoned off as there is conservation work in progress. But for now, visitors are still allowed to meander through other hallways, and what one finds is simply, silencing.
The tree is 300 years old, I overhear a guide telling his group.
Another guide says, It’s like an octopus!
Too many thoughts race through my mind. I observe in absolute awe.
The experience provokes. How can it not?
The persistent question of how such an advanced civilisation crumbled, and how important the role of good leadership is in the shaping of lives, not just then and then, but now, especially, now.
I can’t resolve my other question- Is this an example of nature overwhelming the man-made, or is this an illustration of man and nature, co-existing?
Ah, Savage Beauty. In the stillness of the morning, God feels near.