A crack team of gardeners is ensuring Cambodia’s archaeological marvel Angkor Wat is not strangled by overgrown tree saplings sprouting from the sandstone’s cracks.
Stacking a ladder against the towering spires of Cambodia’s archaeological marvel Angkor Wat, Chhoeurm Try gingerly scales the temple’s exterior to hack away foliage before it damages the ancient facade.
The 50-year-old is part of a crack team of gardeners ensuring the kingdom’s most valued heritage site is not strangled by overgrown tree saplings sprouting from the sandstone’s cracks.
For two decades, Chhoeurm Try has made the treacherous climbs barefoot up to Angkor Wat’s central tower, which rises 65 meters high above the archaeological complex in the northern city of Siem Reap.
The world heritage site contains monuments dating from the 9th to 15th century, and was Cambodia’s most popular tourist destination before the coronavirus pandemic seized up global travel.
“We love and want to preserve the temples,” Chhoeurm Try says. “If we don’t preserve them… the younger generation would not get a chance to see them.”