The Archaeological Survey of India has been working to restore the Ta Prohm temple for over a decade now. The temple is famous for the trees growing into the structure (and was the picturesque backdrop to one of the Tomb Raider movies), but this state of nature interacting with architecture brings with it a unique set of conservation challenges.
India Gazette, 07 May 2015
The overlapping of trees and man-made structures at Cambodia’s Ta Prohm temple made the Archeological Survey of India’s restoration work difficult, so they had rope in IIT-Chennai to instruct them in structural engineering.
In a video “India-Cambodia Relations – A Labour of Love” highlighting the role Indian has played in restoration of Ta Prohm, the third most visited site after Angkor Wat and the Bayon temple in the Angkor region, posted online by the external affairs ministry on May 5, Indian archaeologists spoke about the challenges they faced in restoration.
“The restoration work at Ta Prohm temple was quite a challenging task as about 150 huge trees are growing in the complex, and some of them are growing over the structures,” ASI director general Rakesh Tewari in the video.
When the ASI took over the restoration charge in 2003, Tewari noted the temple was “all crumbled down” and resettling the monument wasn’t an easy job.