Thailand is a country with a rich and diverse history that has left behind a plethora of cultural and architectural wonders. One such wonder is the Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple, located in the ancient city of Lopburi. This temple, also known as the Monkey Temple, is a unique and intriguing site that attracts visitors from all over the world. In this article, we will delve into the history and significance of the Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple ruins in Thailand.
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History of the Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple
The Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple was built during the Khmer Empire’s reign in the 13th century. The Khmer Empire was a powerful and influential empire that controlled large parts of Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The temple was built as a Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, the god of destruction, and was later converted into a Buddhist temple.
The temple’s name, Phra Prang Sam Yot, translates to “Three-Spired Temple” in English. The temple was so named because of its three towering spires, which are the most distinctive features of the temple. The temple was also adorned with intricate carvings and bas-reliefs that depicted scenes from Hindu mythology.
The Significance of the Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple
The Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple is significant because it is one of the few remaining examples of Khmer architecture in Thailand. The Khmer Empire’s influence on Thailand is evident in many of the country’s cultural and architectural treasures, including the famous Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia.
The Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple is also significant because of its location in the ancient city of Lopburi. Lopburi was a strategic location for the Khmer Empire, and the city was an important center for trade and commerce. The temple’s location in Lopburi suggests that it played a crucial role in the city’s religious and cultural life.
The Legend of the Monkey Temple
The Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple is also known as the Monkey Temple because of the large population of macaque monkeys that inhabit the temple grounds. The monkeys are believed to be descendants of the monkey army that helped Lord Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, defeat the demon king Ravana.
Legend has it that the monkey army was rewarded for their service by being given the land on which the temple was built. The monkeys are now considered sacred, and visitors to the temple are encouraged to feed them and treat them with respect.
Visiting the Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple
The Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple is a popular tourist destination and can be visited year-round. The best time to visit is during the cooler months between November and February. The temple is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free.
Visitors are advised to dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the temple grounds. It is also important to be cautious around the monkeys and not feed them any food that may be harmful to their health.
The Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple is a fascinating glimpse into Thailand’s rich and diverse history. The temple’s unique architecture, cultural significance, and legendary monkey population make it a must-see destination for anyone visiting Thailand. Whether you are a history buff, a culture enthusiast, or an animal lover, the Phra Prang Sam Yot Temple is sure to leave a lasting impression.