Kutisvara

Date 9th - 10th century
Cult Brahmanic (Shiva´te)
Clearing H. Marchal and H. Parmentier in 1930

Leaving Ta Prohm by the east gopura, one takes the route Demasur to the right, to then turn left onto the Small Circuit - here bordered to the south by the external enclosure wall of Banteay Kdei. Just after its north gopura, where a large fronton reconstructed on the ground shows the Earth wringing her hair to drown the army of Mara,(21) one walks across the fields on the left for two hundred metres to find the remains of Kutisvara in a small copse. It can be difficult to reach even in the dry season.

Although situated just 500 metres east of Ta Prohm and quite close to a village, this little monument was surprisingly only discovered in 1930 - and while not particularly spectacular, it is of undeniable archaeological interest since it marks the site of Kuti, founded during the reign of Jayavarman II in the 9th century and mentioned in the inscriptions of Bat Chum and Tep Pranam. Until then this had been associated with the site of Banteay Kdei, where the re-used jambs of the door openings mention the placing in Kutisvara of a Brahma to the south and of a Vishnou to the north by Shivasarya, one of the priests of the Devaraja or Royal Linga, during the reign of Rajendravarman in the 10th century.

The temple presents itself in the form of three half-ruined sanctuary towers in brick, aligned north south and opening to the east, standing on a small hillock that was probably surrounded by a moat. The central tower is very close to the art of Roluos. Set on a brick base platform, it is preceded by a double stairway with accolade formed base steps - the first being enclosed within the remains of some wall which formed a sort of internal area that was probably a later addition. The door assembly is in sandstone with a straight-jointed frame, octagonal colonnettes with four bands and a lintel that is practically defaced. The 2m.80 wide sanctuary chamber contained a pedestal for a linga with a sacred base stone.

The lateral sanctuaries are slightly later in style and set on a laterite plinth. With no trace of false doors or decoration on their external surface, the frames of their openings are almost intact and assembled with half-mitred joints. Their colonnettes are ringed with four bands. The lintels - topped with a small frieze - have slender branches, large terminal scrolls and small figures crowding the decoration. Central on the southern lintel is a seated Brahma, and on the northern, the usual Vishnou´te scene taken from the churning of the Sea of Milk - the pivot braced by the god and resting on the tortoise. The inscription of Banteay Kdei is thus confirmed. Moreover, within the southern sanctuary chamber - which, with the northern, is slightly rectangular - the statue itself of Brahma was found, with four faces and four arms, standing on the circular pedestal ornate with lotus petals that was generally reserved for this god and similar to those at Phnom Krom and Phnom Bok. Although of mediocre craftsmanship, the idol has been returned to the storeroom.(22)