LOPBURI, THAILAND, June 2, 2018 (Latin American Herald Tribune): Monkeys, said to be descendants of the Hindu God Hanuman, continued to live a life fit for kings on Saturday in the Thai city of Lopburi, where local authorities give them food twice a day by and allow them to roam freely in the streets and around temples. An estimated 3,000 macaques – Macaca fascicularis – live in the city, situated around 93 miles north of Bangkok, although their biggest colonies are found in the Khmer-style Prang Sam Yot temple and the Phra Kan shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
“We have lived together for a long time. I have spent 40 years here, and there have always been monkeys. However, their number has grown in recent years. When I arrived, there were less of them,” Taveesak Srisangnan, a 74-year resident, told EFE. The reason why the primates are tolerated and even cared for is related to a legend which says they are descendents of Hanuman, who helped the prince Rama – an incarnation of Vishnu – kill a giant, Thotsakan, according to the epic poem Ramakien, the Thai version of India’s Hindu epic Ramayana. Lopburi’s name is also inspired by a character in the Ramakien, a reflection of the eclectic religious atmosphere in Thailand, where the majority practices a form of Buddhism mixed with Hindu and animistic beliefs.