Tree roots and Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006.
For the past decade or so, there has been a massive effort by the Cambodian government to restore as many temples to as close to their original glory as possible. This sadly doesn’t mean that they’ve brought back the sacrificial altar. Instead, it’s all about clearing away the rainforest and jungle that have encroached upon these sanctum santorii.
While this is probably the best coarse of action for scholars of Southeast Asian and Angkorian culture and architecture, the temples that haven’t been “rescued” resemble nothing so much as what can happen to any man-made structure after hundreds of years of neglect. It’s starkly poetic, and as good a reminder as any that we are impermanent.