Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ta Prohm Kel

The faces of two acolytes on the ground near Ta Prohm Kel
A couple of hundred metres from the western entrance to Angkor Wat, and ignored by almost everyone, is a small chapel-style ruin called Ta Prohm Kel, built in the late 12th century and supported today by wooden beams and struts. It's located in a quiet clearing and has devatas on its walls, some tapestry medallions on its doorjambs and a lintel and pediment where the main Buddhist dieties have been removed. There's a legend associated with the site that suggests Pona Krek, a paralysed beggar was cured by the mount of Indra, Airavata, who carried him away, but there's no carvings to that effect though lots of small stone carved figures reside on the ground around the shrine. It opens to the east with false doors on the other sides though the west side is badly eroded. Further along the road to the South Gate of Angkor Thom, where I was headed to begin my bike ride around the walls of the city, I stopped for a quick peek at the small brick shrine of Rong Lmong - restored in the late 1960s - sat high on a brick base with its worn lintel of the three-headed Airavata, minus Indra. Another small temple that gets overlooked by the masses.
Ta Prohm Kel as you approach from the main road
A kala lintel with vegetal scrolls and the small Buddhist figure removed. This pediment above has two rows of worshippers but with no central figure remaining. This is on the north side.
This cracked devata is holding a lotus blossom
At the foot of a column this dancing figure is badly eroded
This is a view of Ta Prohm Kel from the south side, showing some of the supporting woodedn beams
A crowned devata without her feet
Tapestry medallions on the doorjambs of Ta Prohm Kel
One last look at the east facing entrance of Ta Prohm Kel
The 3 heads of Airavata are visible but Indra is not, on this lintel at Rong LmongThe small brick shrine of Rong Lmong, a few hundred metres before the South Gate of Angkor Thom

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