FUSION TEMPLE OF THREE CULTURES

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Lop Buri: A Rare Fusion of Three Cultures

By Robert Wilson
This is part of our Window on Southeast Asia series.

I visited Lop Buri on vacation from my job in northern Thailand in 2000. The first place I went to was a Khmer Hindu temple that had been converted into a Buddhist temple in the 1600s. The temple was built in the 10th century by the Khmers. Like Angkor Wat, it has three Cambodian towers called “prangs,” the middle one larger than the others. When it was a Hindu temple this symbolized the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. The place is crawling with monkeys, most staying in the shade of the building. I made the mistake of walking into the shade to get a picture when a monkey jumped up on my back. After it decided that it couldn’t get my backpack open, it climbed up to my head and started pulling my hair (heaven knows why). After about a minute of this some Thais came up to me and chased the monkey off. The monkeys are the main tourist draw of Lop Buri today. In a way, it’s rather sad. Had King Narai’s vision been achieved, monkeys would be the least of Lop Buri’s tourist draws.  http://www.jadedragon.com