ONGOING rumours that the famous trees at the equally famous Ta Prohm temple will be lopped are unfounded.
The trees, which had a supporting role in the Angelina Jolie movie Tomb Raider, will remain a permanent fixture, according to Cambodian archaeologist Sim Than, because the trees too can be considered cultural.
“Culture is not just the temple, but also the trees because they are more than 100 years old,” he said. “They will remain even though they have taken root within the temple itself.”
Sim Than works with the Archaeological Survey of India on restoration work at Ta Prohm temple, part of a US$5 million, 10-year project officially dubbed the India-Cambodia Cooperation on Conservation and Restoration of Ta Prohm Temple.
This project was set up in November of 2002 when the Cambodian government signed a memorandum of understating with the Indian government.
One of the main tasks of the project, the restoration of the 40-metre long, six-metre high southeastern gallery of Ta Prohm temple, will be completed this year.
The gallery restoration began in 2004 and, wonder of wonders for Cambodia, the restoration is on schedule, having moved quickly compared to other restoration sites in the Angkor complex.
Sim Tham said the speed of the work has been helped along by three factors: It is easy to bring construction tools onto the site; collapsed stones weren’t lost or pilfered; and more workers were employed than on other sites.
He added that only the southeastern gallery was earmarked for restoration, not other parts.
This work is part of an innovative UNESCO idea, to allow people to make comparisons between the restored and the unrestored areas of the Angkor complex.