Laura Croft’s Tomb Raider & Indiana Jones’ Temple of Doom: Ancient Angkor [PICS]

November 15th, 2012 Permalink

Once upon a time, or around 1580, while cutting a path through the thick Cambodian jungle, Portuguese missionaries came upon huge towers carved into rocks that were in ruins and covered in roots and vines. Continuing on, they discovered an ancient lost city that was twice as large as Manhattan and that nature was trying to swallow. The missionaries had discovered abandoned Angkor Wat—the 500-acre site is one of the world’s largest religious monuments and the most elaborate of the Angkor’s temples. There are more than 1,000 Temples of Angkor which were built from the 9th to 13th centuries during a time when the Kingdom of Cambodia was one of the most powerful civilizations on the planet. There were rarely any inscriptions found in later centuries after 1431, when Angkor was seized by the Thai army. During its prime, as many as 750,000 – one million people lived in Angkor, making it one of the greatest vanishing acts of all time. Archaeologists now know that Angkor Wat and many of its surrounding structures were built to appease “devas” and “asuras” which are angelic demi-Gods of the Hindu religion. Thousands upon thousands of these demi-god beings are carved into every single rock temple at the site. Both Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones Temple of Doom were filmed here. Angkor Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. New research claims to have solved the mystery of how the huge stones of Angkor Wats were moved. “The massive sandstone bricks used to construct the 12th-century temple of Angkor Wat were brought to the site via a network of hundreds of canals. The findings shed light on how the site’s 5 million to 10 million bricks, some weighing up to 3,300 pounds, made it to the temple from quarries at the base of a nearby mountain.” The mystique of Angkor may cry out to the adventurer in us all, but the roots and trees are now being cut back as Angkor is being restored. So many people come here, about 2 – 3 million a year; all that walking and climbing on the (mostly) sandstone monuments caused additional damage to the archaeological sites at Angkor. These photos hearken to ancient Angkor as the Temples of Doom for a Tomb Raider to explore. [41 Photos, 4 Videos]

Echoes of Silence; the beauty and mystical ambiance of Ta Prohm. Angkor, Cambodia

“Echoes of Silence; the beauty and mystical ambiance of Ta Prohm. Angkor, Cambodia,” the photographer wrote. This scene may appeal to the Indiana Jones in all of us. Photo #1 by Peter Nijenhuis

Buddhist monks in front of the reflection pool at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Buddhist monks in front of the reflection pool at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, the city’s most notable edifice. It was built to represent the Hindu “Mountain of the Gods,” and served as a funerary temple. The main temple of Angkor Wat was built between 1113 and 1150 “by King Suryavarman II,” Wikipedia informs. “Suryavarman ascended to the throne after prevailing in a battle with a rival prince. An inscription says that, in the course of combat, Suryavarman leapt onto his rival’s war elephant and killed him, just as the mythical bird-man Garuda slays a serpent.” Photo #2 by Sam Garza

Aerial of Angkor Wat

Aerial of Angkor Wat. The Earth Observatory explains, “Tucked deep in the Cambodian rainforest, the ancient Angkor Wat temple is considered one of the most valuable architectural sites in Asia. Angkor Wat is the pinnacle of the city of Angkor, capital of the once-powerful Khmer Empire of Southeast Asia. The temple was built by Suryavarman II between 1113 and 1150 AD. Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, Angkor Wat is a representation of Mount Meru, home of the gods and the center of the Hindu universe. In addition to its unique pyramid temple architecture, Angkor Wat is covered with intricate bas-relief carvings of Hindu epics. At the center of Angkor Wat are five towers that represent the five peaks of Mount Meru. The round towers mark out the corners and the center of the innermost square of the complex. Like the mountain peaks they represent, the towers are pointed on top. The pinnacle of each tower is slightly lighter than the surrounding black stone in this image.” Photo #3 by NASA

Iconic tree at Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Iconic tree at Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Cambodia. According to Wikitravel, “Built during the time of king Jayavarman VII and is best known as the temple where trees have been left intertwined with the stonework, much as it was uncovered from the jungle. It might be considered in a state of disrepair but there is a strange beauty in the marvelous strangler fig trees which provide a stunning display of the embrace between nature and the human handiwork. This is one of the most popular temples after Angkor Wat and the Bayon because of the beautiful combinations of wood and stone.” You may recognize a few scenes from Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider in this collection of images. Photo #4 by Brian Jeffery Beggerly

Mythic statues line the causeway over a moat leading to the south gate of Angkor Thom

The photographer wrote, “Mythic statues line the causeway over a moat leading to the south gate of Angkor Thom, literally called ‘Great City.’ The images represent a Hindu myth of creation called the Churning of the Sea of Milk. On one side of the causeway, fifty-four guardian deities (called ‘devas’) pull the head of a mythical serpent or ‘naga.’ On the other side, fifty-four images of demon gods (called ‘asuras’) push the tail of the serpent.” Photo #5 by Rene (Taiger808)

The Origin of Suffering is Attachment -- Bayon, Cambodia, Indochina

“The Origin of Suffering is Attachment.” Bayon, Cambodia. Destination Truth wrote, “Many carvings depict a direct interaction between the human and spirit world and it is said that malevolent Hindu demons still haunt the vast and overgrown premises to this day. Reports of physical interactions and audible voices around many of the temples, most notably Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Bayon, have erupted over the years. Most recently, Buddhist monks are said to communicate with the spirits during meditation on the premises.” Photo #6 by By James…….

Chau Say Tevoda

Chau Say Tevoda; Just east of Angkor Thom, two minor temples line the Victory Way: Thommanon (N) and Chao or Chau Say Tevoda (S), both in the Angkor Wat style. They were built in the 12th century, Thommanon early, Chao Say Tevoda somewhat later, and were planned well before Angkor Thom and the Victory Way which date from the end of the 12th century. Photo #7 by Ricardo Hurtubia


Phimeanakas was “built at the end of the 10th century, during the reign of Rajendravarman (from 941-968), then rebuilt by Suryavarman II in the shape of a three tier pyramid as a Hindu temple. On top of the pyramid there was a tower. According to legend, the king spent the first watch of every night with a woman thought to represent a Nāga in the tower, during that time, not even the queen was permitted to intrude. Only in the second watch the king returned to his palace with the queen. If the naga who was the supreme land owner of Khmer land did not show up for a night, the king’s day would be numbered, if the king did not show up, calamity would strike his land.” Photo #8 by Tangge

Finely carved reliefs and corridors from the ruins of the Buddhist temple of Angkor

Finely carved reliefs and corridors from the ruins of the Buddhist temple of Angkor Ta Prohm. It dates to the 12th and 13th century and was built by king Jayavarman VII who is considered to be one of the greatest rulers of the ancient Khmer Empire. Photo #9 by Allie Caulfield

Detailed reliefs in the underworld

Detailed reliefs in the underworld. Sandstone bas relief on the hidden wall at the Leper King Terrace, part of the Royal Square of Angkor Thom – Angkor Wat. Photo #10 by Rene (Taiger808)

Banteay Srei on left; Banteay Samre on right

Banteay Srei (left): “is a 10th century temple of Khmer architecture dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Consecrated in 967 C.E., Banteay Srei was the only major temple at Angkor not built by a monarch; its construction is credited to a courtier named Yajnyavahara, who served as a counselor to King Rajendravarman.”; Banteay Samre (right): “located ca. 500 m east of the Eastern Baray, is one of the temples of Angkor. It was built in the first half of the 12th century, and has been a thoroughly restorated. It is a complete Hindu temple with an Angkor Wat style sanctuary tower.” Photo #11 by Allie Caulfield & #12 by Richard Socher

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Army of Statues. Video #1 by movieclips

Tomb Raider (Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Cambodia)

Tomb Raider (Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Cambodia). Wikipedia states, “Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor’s most popular temples with visitors.UNESCO inscribed Ta Prohm on the World Heritage List in 1992. Today, it is one of the most visited complexes in Cambodia’s Angkor region. The conservation and restoration of Ta Prohm is a partnership project.” Photo #13 by Matthew Stewart

The Secret Passageway to the Treasure

“The Secret Passageway to the Treasure,” Trey Ratcliff wrote. “After the crowds of Angkor Wat, it was nice to go find a remote temple in the jungle and be alone. This temple laid under the jungle, completely undiscovered for centuries. The hallway and mysterious chambers seemed to go on forever. If you want to see how I made this (and how you can too!), visit my HDR Tutorial. I hope it gives you some new tricks!” Photo #14 by Trey Ratcliff

Banteay Srey Temple

Banteay Srey Temple “is a 10th century Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.” It was “built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still observable today. The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, unusually so when measured by the standards of Angkorian construction. These factors have made the temple extremely popular with tourists, and have led to its being widely praised as a ‘precious gem’, or the ‘jewel of Khmer art’.” Photo #15 by Bernard Oh

AngkorPre Rup, one of the many temple ruins within the Angkor Archaeological Park

Angkor: Pre Rup, one of the many temple ruins within the Angkor Archaeological Park. It was built “as the state temple of Khmer king Rajendravarman and dedicated in 961 or early 962. It is a temple mountain of combined brick, laterite and sandstone construction. The temple’s name is a comparatively modern one meaning ‘turn the body’. This reflects the common belief among Cambodians that funerals were conducted at the temple, with the ashes of the body being ritually rotated in different directions as the service progressed.” Photo #16 by Jimbo7

The famous empty doorway of Ta Prohm

“The famous empty doorway of Ta Prohm — ” the photographer wrote, “there’s usually a queue of people lining up to be photographed here!” Wikitravel wrote, “While the temple is very popular, most visitors follow a central route and the sides of the complex can be surprisingly quiet. Note that large sections of the temple are unstable rubble and have been cordoned off, as they are in real danger of collapse. As of 2010, authorities have started to restore Ta Prohm. All the plants and shrubs have been cleared from the site and some of trees are also getting removed. A crane has been erected and a large amount of building work is underway to rebuild the temple, much of it seemingly from scratch. Wooden walkways now block some of the previously famous postcard photos.” Photo #17 by Jpatokal

Swallowing the Ruins at Ta Prohm & Wrapping Around Time ancient ruins of Angkor Wat

2 million people a year must feel the call of adventure to explore these ancient ruins. If the site is being repaired, will these famous roots covering the ruins and enhancing the mystique be removed? Left: “Swallowing the Ruins at Ta Prohm.” Right: “Wrapping Around Time ancient ruins of Angkor Wat.” Photo #18 by Trey Ratcliff & #19 by Trey Ratcliff

1965 Crushed by the weight of time at Angkor Wat, Kamboscha

Taken in 1965, the weight of time was already crushing Angkor Wat. Photo #20 by H. Grobe

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom Trailer. Video #2 by FilmTrailersChannel

Angkor Thom Terrace of the Elephants

The Angkor Thom Terrace of the Elephants was named for the 350m-long (1,148 feet) carvings of elephants on its eastern face. Photo #21 by Thom Watson

Angkor Wat Tree on left and cramped corridors of ancient Bayon

The photographer for the image on left wrote, “Have you ever been in Angkor Wat? I think it is a must. Fantastic, mysterious, ancient, beautiful, etc…” Right: The cramped corridors of ancient Bayon. “Very little space is left between the inner gallery and the upper terrace.” Photo #22 by alfaneque & #23 by Markalexander100

Preah Khan temple ruins

Preah Khan temple ruins. The photographer wrote, “A view of the ruins of the temple of Preah Khan at Angkor in Cambodia. Preah Khan was built by the powerful Khmer king Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century who dedicated it to his father, Dharanindravarman II.” Photo #24 by Allie Caulfield

Neak Pean Temple Angkor, Cambodia

Neak Pean Temple “is an artificial island with a Buddhist temple on a circular island in Preah Khan Baray. The name is derived from the sculptures of snakes (Nāga) running around the base of the temple structure.” Photo #25 by 3coma14

A view of the Terrace of the Leper King in Angkor Thom

A view of the Terrace of the Leper King in Angkor Thom. Photo #26 by Allie Caulfield

Bayon -- A temple called Bayonne, Angkor Thom, the Angkor complex, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Built in the late 12th century or early 13th century: A temple called Bayonne, Angkor Thom, the Angkor complex. There are 216 massive stone faces adorning the towers of Bayon which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak. Photo #27 by David Sim

Buddha being swallowed by roots at Angkor Archaeological Park

Nature reclaiming the temples. Buddha being swallowed by roots at Angkor Archaeological Park. Photo #28 by H. Grobe & #29 by Peter Nijenhuis

13th century Bayon Khmer Buddhist temple — at Angkor, Cambodia

13th century Bayon Khmer Buddhist temple — at Angkor. Photo #30 by Charles J Sharp

Phnom Bakheng

Phnom Bakheng. The photographer wrote, “Just between Angkor Wat and the Bayon lies the temple of Phnom Bakheng, a good walk up the hill and a popular place to witness the sunset as it gives a great view of the surrounding area. The main temple on the top of the hill lies up some pretty steep steps. When climbing down those very steps this view caught my eye and I quickly pulled out my tripod and took a few, dodging passing tourists. I’m also trying to work on some techniques to minimize the HDR psychedelic effect while still maintaining that enhanced reality feeling. Still not there yet, but hopefully good for now.” Photo #31 by stoicviking

Prasat Suor Prat is a series of 12 towers in Angkor Thom near the town of Siem Reap

Prasat Suor Prat is a series of 12 towers in Angkor Thom. Photo #32 by Kazenelenbogen

Prasat Preah Palilay

Prasat Preah Palilay. The new research claims “The grid of canals suggests the ancient builders took a shortcut when constructing the Angkor Wat temple, which may explain how the imposing complex was built in a mere 20 years. Photo #33 by BluesyPete

Ancient Megastructures – Angkor Wat. Video #3 by InuKool

Roots of Ta Prohm Temple

Roots of Ta Prohm Temple. It looks like a scene you’d step into in a temple exploring adventure video game. Photo #34 by David Pham

Apsaras, detail of lower pediment. Cambodia, Bayon (Angkor Thom), province of Siem Reap, Bayon style, late 12th - early 13th century sandstone

Apsaras, detail of lower pediment. Bayon style, late 12th – early 13th century sandstone. Photo #35 by Vassil

Angkor Thommanon relief & A statue at the Bayon temple in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Left: Angkor Thommanon relief. Right: A statue at the Bayon temple. Photo #36 by Allie Caulfield & #37 by Allie Caulfield

The Ta Nei temple in Angkor, Cambodia

The 12th Century stone was dedicated to Buddha. Photo #38 by Writer128

The Srah Srong reservoir of Angkor, Cambodia

The Srah Srang reservoir was dug in the mid-10th century and has steps that lead down to the water are flanked by two guardian lions. At present Srah Srang measures 700 by 350 m and is still partially flooded. Photo #39 by Samuel Maddox

Sunset@Angkor Wat

Sunset@Angkor Wat. “The temple complex is surrounded by a 174-meter- (570-foot-) wide moat, visible in the large image, that represents the oceans at the edge of the universe,” wrote the Earth Observatory. “A stone causeway leads through the Hindu universe to the temple home of the gods from the west, on the left side of the image. The temple complex itself is a series of buildings on rising terraces like the slopes of a mountain.” Photo #40 by randomix

Sunset over Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Sunset over Angkor Wat. Photo #41 by Ali Catterall

Cambodia: CITY OF THE GODS. Video #4 by AhmekKhmer

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