When I first came to Lopburi , ruins of structures made out of bricks really caught my attention. During our field trip last Saturday, my questions were finally answered. We did a quick field trip around this historic city and I would like to share to you what I have learned.
During the reign of Kingn Narai (where the capital city of Thailand was still Ayutthaya and the country was still called “Siam”), there were French, Spanish and Portugese traders who came to the country. The presence of these “farangs” or foreigners became complicated for the king, so he set up another palace in LopBuri the next city nearby. The advantage of having another palace and second capital city established here is that LopBuri does not have a seashore so it would be hard for the farangs to come since they could not dock anywhere, something that they can easily do in Ayutthaya.
We did not get inside these three temples. There is nothing there except the monkeys. Hundreds of monkeys live in that old temple. You can see that the design is very much of Cambodian influence. They have seen relics and images there which are now transferred to the LopBuri museum.
The people here in LopBuri consider the monkeys holy and have helped prosper the city. They believe that there is a strong spirit here in LopBuri, which are being guarded by the monkeys. So to feed and to honor the monkeys would also please that spirit.
Our tour guide took us to this “compound” where a Greek man used to live with his family. History tells us that this guy became King Narai’s right hand and has found so much favor with the royal family. As a trader, his skill in business was admired by King Narai. He was given this compound for him and his family to live in.
King Narai was believed to be poisoned by his half brother who later succeeded in taking the kingdom after his (King Narai’s) death. Sad story. Remember that Greek guy whom he was so fond of? He was killed as well after being imprisoned for years.
Sorry my long story had to end with a tragedy. It is no doubt that King Narai is one of the most loved kings and people still honor him greatly to this day.