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Drought in Thailand Reveals Lost Temple That Was Submerged Under Water

The water crisis is so bad that a Buddhist temple that had sunk 20 years ago has now resurfaced.
Shamani Joshi
Mumbai, IN
Drought in Thailand reveals lost Buddhist temple
A family prays near the ruins of a headless Buddha statue, which has resurfaced in a dried-up dam due to drought, in Lopburi, Thailand. Picture taken August 1, 2019. Photo: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun

Most of Southeast Asia is grappling with a severe water crisis, but the drought is so bad in Thailand that a temple that had been submerged under water for nearly 20 years has now resurfaced.

Wat Nong Bua Ya was a Buddhist temple that sunk after authorities decided to build a water reservoir in the area. But because of the drought, the dam has reached 3 percent of its capacity, causing parts of the temple to reappear. And now that it’s resurfaced, citizens, especially Buddhist monks, are flocking to the arid area to worship a headless Buddha statue that sits amidst dead fish.


“When I was young, I always came to meet friends at the elephant sculptures in front of the main building to play there,” Yotin Lopnikorn, headman of the Nong Bua village that used to be near the temple, told Reuters about his temple trips back in the day.

The temple was a festive spot that found itself at the centre of a community that had over 700 households. This is also the second time that the drought has prompted it to reappear, doing so also in 2015.

However, while religious folks rejoice over the reappearance of the temple, it is worrisome that the Pasak Cholasit dam, meant to irrigate more than 1.3 million acres of land in four provinces, now only has enough capacity to provide water for 3,000 acres instead.

Even the meteorological department concurs that Thailand is facing one of its worst droughts, and is worried that it will only get worse. Let that sink in.

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