Friday, October 31, 2008
Prasat Chrey, which is on the opposite side of the main road into the complex from the northern group of temples that surround Prasat Sambor. The sight of the brick-built 7th century structure being literally squeezed to death by the strangler fig tree that embraces it and sprouts high above its eastern entrance, makes for a great photo composition. The strangler fig is known for its seeds which are often bird-dispersed and which germinate in crevices, growing their roots downwards and enveloping the host, in this case a brick tower, while growing upwards to reach into the sunlight above the forest canopy. There are over 900 species of fig tree, or Ficus, around the world, and it's another member of the fig tree family, the banyan, which is famous for its roots that engulf the Angkor temple of Ta Prohm. Prasat Chrey, in addition to its tree overcoat also has an inscribed doorway in ancient Khmer script and false doors with their own version of a flying palace, but minus the royalty looking out. You'd be a fool to miss this picture on your visit to Sambor Prei Kuk.