The San Phra Kan, or the Kala Shrine, features a highly revered image of the Hindu god Vishnu along with streams of locals who come to pay their respects -- and countless monkeys that are a little less respectful.
The site predates the Lopburi period, evidenced by a massive laterite base located to the rear that has sat here for more than 1,000 years. King Narai is thought to have added a shrine room, which was reconstructed in 1951 and looks unremarkable from outside. Step into the sanctum to see a Lopburi-period stone sculpture of Vishnu topped with the head of an Ayutthaya-period sandstone Buddha image. Locals and visiting Thais consider the site to be sacred, placing flowers, incense and other offerings inside while wishing for good fortune.
San Phra Kan has been home to a community of monkeys for as long as anyone can remember. Old folks say that the simians lived off nearby fig trees until the local people began to feed them. Local officials come through to feed the monkeys at 10:00 and 16:00 daily, turning the shrine area into a frenzied munching ground. The entire area was fenced in to try to control the monkeys and stop them from being killed on the busy road outside.
How to get there
San Phra Kan is located at the centre of a roundabout just east of the train tracks and a five-minute walk north of the train station.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 7th September, 2016.