A sacred site
Published/Last edited or updated: 13th June, 2016
In 1886, a German named J.E. Rustmann stole the head and hands of the image and smuggled them to Germany. It took a request from King Rama V to have them returned, and in exchange the Thai authorities graciously supplied a replica of the stolen goods to the Museum of Berlin. The image was exhibited in Bangkok’s National Museum before finally being returned to its rightful home in the early 20th century.
The statue enshrined here today is a replica; the original is displayed in the nearby National Museum. According to an ancient inscription on the base, the image "protects all two- and four-legged creatures" in Kamphaeng Phet. It’s still revered by locals who offer incense and flowers. A Shiva lingam joins a pink depiction of Ganesha and a towering dipterocarp tree to give Phra Isuan some company.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
Our top 8 other sights and activities in and around Kamphaeng Phet