Many residents of Chiang Mai do not know that there is a
shrine to Krom Luang Chumporn Khet Udomsak, the famous Thai prince and naval
commander, in Mae Rim district, not far from the city of Chiang Mai.
of Krom Luang Chumporn Khet Udomsak at the shrine.
There are around 200 shrines to Krom Luang Chumporn all
over the country; however, the one in Mae Rim is unique. Apart from a
life-size statue of Krom Luang Chumporn, there are some interesting
embellishments to the shrine - weapons previously used by the Royal Thai
Navy during the war, including two huge torpedoes (Model 45 Jor) weighing
649 kilograms each.
Torpedoes of this type were attached to the warships Tak,
Phuket and Pattani. Other ex WWII items include explosive mines, shells and
Merit-making ceremonies are held twice a year at the
shrine, the first on his birthday (May 19) and the second on the day of his
death (December 19).
The shrine is situated on Chotana Road connecting Chiang
Mai and Mae Rim. It is about 19 kilometers from Chiang Mai and around 200
meters down Soi Wat Phrathat Jom Taeng, opposite Ban Pong Tambon
Administration Organization office.
explosive ocean mine.
The history of this shrine goes back to 1966, when
serving and former naval officers and soldiers residing in the North, held a
reunion. They organized a “Navy Day”, which would subsequently be held
every year. In 1973 they established the “Northern Naval Club” with an
aim to raise funds for a statue of Krom Luang Chumporn for naval people to
pay respect. It would also serve to enhance the reputation of His Royal
Highness and of the Royal Thai Navy.
used by Krom Luang Chumporn Khet Udomsak during naval operations.
On August 17, 1980, a ceremony was held to pour liquid
gold into a mould for the life-size statue at the premises of the Sadej Phor
Krom Luang Chumporn Foundation located in Wat Ruag on Charunsnitwong Road,
Bangkok. The ceremony was presided over by Admiral Sa-ngad Chaloryou, then
Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Navy.
artillery ammunition on display.
On June 20, 1986, the statue was moved to a temporary
shrine in the compound of Wat Phrathat Jom Taeng in Mae Rim district while
the permanent shrine was under construction. By courtesy of the Buddhist
monks and the temple committee of Wat Phrathat Jom Taeng, the club was
allowed to build the permanent shrine on five rai inside the temple.
When the permanent shrine was completed, the statue of
Krom Luang was moved again on November 20, 1988 to be installed there. The
opening ceremony took place on December 19, 1988, presided over by Admiral
Kasem Mekloy, Royal Thai Navy Commander in Chief. The Naval Ordnance
Department and Naval Hydrographic Department donated the torpedoes and
cannons for decorating the shrine.
Admiral H.R.H. Prince Chumporn Khet Udomsak was born in
the royal palace on December 19, 1880, to H.M. King Rama V (his 28th son)
and his concubine, Moad (her first son). Moad was a daughter of Chao Phraya
Surawongwaiwat (Wora Bunnag), holding the title of Phra Samuha Kalahom (in
charge of the Defense Ministry) at the time.
The original name of H.R.H. Prince Chumporn was Phra Ong
Chao Aabhakorn Kiettiwong. In 1893, at the age of 13, H.M. King Rama V
allowed him to accompany the next King (Rama VI who was called Somdej
Phrachao Lukya Ther Chao Fa Maha Wachirawut at that time) to further his
education in England. After tutorial courses, he entered the British Royal
Navy Academy and College and studied there for six years.
Upon the completion of his education in England, Admiral
H.R.H. Krom Luang Chumporn Khet Udomsak returned to Thailand in 1900 and was
assigned as Flag Lieutenant in the Royal Thai Navy in which he served until
1923, when he was named Minister of the Royal Thai Navy.
Unfortunately, his poor health forced him to leave this
position. He retired to Haad Sai Ree beach, Pak Nam Chumporn (Chumporn
Estuary), where he died of influenza on May 19, 1923, at the age of 44.
The Jane Talay Warship was commissioned to return his
body to the palace, and he was cremated in a ceremony arranged under the
courtesy of H.M. King Rama VI at the Royal Cremation Field (Sanam Luang) on
December 24, 1923.
It is now over 80 years since H.R.H. Prince Chumporn Khet Udomsak passed
away; however, what he left behind has yielded countless benefits for the
Royal Thai Navy. On February 11, 1993, the Royal Thai Navy marked May 19 of
every year as “Aabhakorn’s Day” and took the occasion to give him the
honorary title of “Father of the Royal Thai Navy”.