Thai Cultural Relics: Record-breaking drought reveals lost Buddhist temple
A record-breaking drought has led to the reappearance of a Buddhist temple submerged under water for 20 years. The temple was lost when a valley was flooded to create a reservoir in Thailand. CGTN's Martin Lowe has more.
In their thousands, worshippers and tourists have been flocking to see the lost temple. The columns and statues have been under water for 20 years. The temple was submerged when a dam was built and the valley flooded. But this part of Thailand has been hit by one of the worst droughts for years, causing water levels to fall and fall, revealing the temple ruins.
YOTIN LOPNIKON HEADMAN, NONG BUA VILLAGE "I used to come here as a child with my friends. There was a television at the temple and we all came to watch it. There was a big arch and a main hall, as well as a statue of the Buddha and a pavilion."
Many have been drawn here by news of the temple's reappearance.
"I had only seen the dam and the water. I had never seen the temple before."
"I didn't know there was a temple here under the water even though I don't live far away."
The reservoir is now at a record low, holding just three percent of its water capacity.
MARTIN LOWE LOP BURI, THAILAND "While the alarmingly-low water levels have provided an unexpected opportunity for people to view the lost ruins, they're proving to be a major problem for farmers in the area. And this is all happening in what is supposed to be the monsoon season."
The continuing drought is seeing fields dry up, denying moisture to crops like rice and tapioca. Normally water from the dam irrigates farms across four provinces, now there's hardly enough for the local area.
Thailand often experiences diverse weather.
While the central area is struggling with a water shortage, in the west there's been extreme rainfall, causing flooding, swollen rivers and threatening structures like the world's second-largest wooden bridge, the Mon Bridge at Kanchanaburi.
Near where the temple stood can be seen the remains of some of the homes that once surrounded it. Here, there is concern for the harvest – but in the meantime, many are taking the chance to once again lay flowers and worship at the temple returned from the deep.