Ta Keo is older than Angkor Wat, having been begun in the 10th century. The temple is arranged in five vertical terraces to resemble Mount Meru, the home of the gods in Hindu beliefs. Climbing this temple is not for the faint of heart as the stairs ascend each of the four sides of each terrace, and “stairs” is a generous term on some of the levels. A restoration team has installed a steep staircase of wood on one side, so the first terrace is easier to ascend than it would have been when the temple was first completed. As you can see from the pictures, the restoration efforts are still ongoing. Ta Keo is a sandstone temple, the first of the Khmer temples to use this material.
For some reason, I decided to climb this temple. I’m still not entirely sure why. But I got to the penultimate level and had a slight breakdown at the idea of descending. Luckily, the view at the top was amazing, so I’m glad I made the climb. However, getting down took some mental and physical effort. ST was so lovely and volunteered to climb first, so she made it down just before I did. The stone staircase on this terrace doesn’t look so bad from the bottom, but from the top, it really unnerved me. But I made it in the end, so there’s that.
Come back tomorrow to find out more about Ta Prohm, a temple of equal parts building and trees.
Title quote: A description of Ta Keo included on an information sign at the temple