Veering of the usual tourist path my mom and I entered the jungle in search of Ta nei temple which is known for its fallen and crumbling walls. To get there my mom and I had to walk along a dirt path for about 1km from the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom until we reached the ‘French Dam.’ This ‘ French Dam’ is actually a holy reservoir dedicated to the Buddha and not very big but we were so glad that we actually found it and didn’t get lost in the dense forest. We crossed the dam and after another 200 meters through the forest we reached Ta Nei Temple.
What a beautiful sight! We were greeted by fallen blocks and trees covering what was left of this temple. Most of the fallen blocks or walls are being reclaimed by the jungle with trees growing over them and half burying them. The temple itself is very small, only 55meter x 47meter. I think that is a big reason this semi-ruined jungle temple is not part of the main tourist route.
Some of the apsara and lintel carvings are in pretty good condition but the temple itself is in much rougher shape than most of the temples on the main circuit. Some scholars believe that this temple was constructed as a hospital and that this is why there aren’t many carvings inside the building. Whatever the reason for its construction, it is such a beautiful temple.
I had loads of fun clambering over the fallen rocks without any other tourists in the area.
By this time my mom had decided that we were on a hiking tour rather than a temple exploration so we called it a day and headed back towards Siem Reap for dinner and an evening show.