A Buddhist temple in Central Thailand rose to life after drought severely impeded water resources in the reservoir, on whose premises the temple was built, 20 years ago. A severe drought, the worst to hit Thailand so far, drove water levels to record lows in a dam reservoir, where the temple was submerged all this while.
Thousands flocked to pay obeisance to a headless statue of a 4-meter tall Buddha, and place flower offerings. Buddhist monks were among the thousands who walked though broken temple structures on cracked and parched earth, littered with dead fish, to pay respects to the deity. In the rainy season, the temple was covered with water, and not visible.
The dam with a capacity of 960 million cubic meters used to irrigate 1.3 million acres of farmlands in four provinces. The drought has cut short all that, and now the water irrigates just 3,000 acres of land in the single province of Lobpuri. The water-levels in dams nationwide have fallen short of the national average, and Thailand is facing a severe drought. The headman of the Nong Bua village near the temple premises recalled his childhood, when he used to play with his friends on the two elephant sculptures in front of the main building.
The temple as the village headman recalled, was the center of community living. People used to conduct rituals, festivals and educational activities, as well as use the area for recreation and as a play-ground. Next to the temple compound are the remains of 700 households in the village.