This one we visited towards the end of the day today. It’s known by most foreigners as the Lara Croft Tomb Raider temple because although the movie was filmed at different temples in the area, the majority of filming occurred at this one.
This temple is not known for its carving or architectural beauty, but rather the destruction that has occurred to it over the years. As our guide explained, there have been three forces of destruction:
1. Human impact (mainly looting)
2. Termites: termites are super common in the area, and borrow near or in the temples and take the clay from the foundation of the temple, thereby making it unstable
3. Trees: probably the most obvious and evident cause of destruction are the trees that have grown in…and on….the temple itself. Known as spung (sponge) trees, they are actually hollow inside, and incredibly dangerous when they have grown tall, since any major wind topples them. Toppling trees onto the temple areas have ruined many of the buildings, but as you can see, the most impressive way the trees interact is by growing ON the temple itself, thereby crumbling the buildings by growing roots into the walls and foundation. In some cases though, the trees are so intertwined with the building, that when the tree is cut down it actually brings the building walls and roof with it! A no win situation for the people in charge with repairing and protecting what is left!