Macaque at Prang Sam Yod Temple – Lopburi, Thailand

Phra Prang Sam Yod temple is located in Lopburi, the capital city of Lopburi Province in Thailand. It is about 150 kilometres (93 mi) northeast of Bangkok. The city is best known for the thousand of crab-eating macaques that live in the middle of the city, especially around the Khmer temple and a Khmer shrine, Sarn Phra Karn. They are fed by the local people, especially during the Monkey Festival. This festival usually occurs on the last Sunday of November.

Macaque in front of the Phra Prang Sam Yod temple in Lopburi, Thailand.
Macaque in front of the Phra Prang Sam Yod temple in Lopburi, Thailand.

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Prang Sam Yod Temple

Phra Prang Sam Yod, also known as Phra Prang Sam Yot was built by King Jayavarman VII of the Khmer Empire in the early 13th century. Jayavarman intended for the temple to be an important location in the royal cult surrounding himself, as it would increase the legitimacy of his rule. In addition, the temple served to showcase the prestige of the Khmer Empire in Lopburi (then known as Lavo) as it had only recently captured the city from its Cham and Mon rivals.

One prominent statue in the temple was dedicated by Jayavarmarm to “Jayabuddhamahanatha”, which is translatable to “Victorius Buddha, the Great Protector” – further evidence of the temple’s martial origins. Built along the lines of contemporaneous Khmer architecture, the temple is made from brick with a stucco exterior, the latter possibly being inspired by Mon architectural tradition.

The structure has three towers, each with a corresponding deity; the north tower is dedicated to Prajnaparamita, the central tower to the Buddha, and the south tower to Avalokiteśvara.

An image of Phra Prang Sam Yod is featured on a Thai baht note, and the temple is featured prominently on both the provincial seal and flag of Lodpuri Province.


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