Ta Prohm-Kel

Date late 12th century
King Jayavarman VII
(posthumous name: Maha paramasangata pada)
Cult Buddhist
Clearing H. Marchal in 1919

Three hundred metres from the western axial entrance to Angkor Wat, level with the first kilometre marker stone, one can see a small ruined sandstone tower to the left. Following the discovery in 1928 of a stele inscribed with the edict of Jayavarman VII relating to hospitals, this small monument could perhaps be identified as the chapel belonging to one of these 102 establishments, founded by the socially conscious king and mentioned in the inscription of Ta Prohm. Mr Cœdes tells us, on the other hand, that "Ta-Prohm Kel is associated with the legend of Pona Krek, the paralysed beggar whose stiff joints were freed here by the horse of Indra. He then mounted the steed which carried him skyward".

Passing between some sculpted stones, where one can see in particular several representations of the bodhisattva Lokesvara, one crosses the remains of a small sandstone gopura before reaching the prasat, of which only the main lower section and the first three upper tiers of the northern and eastern sides remain standing - though themselves badly deteriorated. The sanctuary opens to the east, has false doors on the three other sides and is set on a moulded and decorated base. An evacuation channel for lustral water - or "somasutra" - passes through its northern wall.

The decoration is abundant and reasonable in execution - in the style of the Bayon, on a background of foliated scrolls with devatas on the corner piers. On the jambs of the main door are some curious circular medallions, delicately sculpted in "tapestry". Each is embellished with a roughly sketched figure which, with lively inspiration, is almost caricatural in nature.