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Princess Dara Rassamee remembered

River transport possibilities

Princess Dara Rassamee remembered

Nopniwat Krailerg

December 9 is remembered as Princess Dara Rassamee Day. A day for people to honor one of the wives of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V of the Chakri Dynasty).

The Princess Dara Rassamee monument in front of Darapirom Palace.

Princess Dara Rassamee had dedicated her life to promote and develop agriculture, art and culture of the Lanna kingdom, where the Princess was born.

This year, Chulalongkorn University held Princess Dara Rassamee Day at the Darapirom Palace Museum in Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai.

The Princess Dara Rassamee monument in front of Darapirom Palace.

Offerings were presented at the Princess Dara Rassamee monument and the Lanna ceremony called “Poo Charn” was performed, along with a Grand Lanna procession. Many government officials and private companies showed their loyalty and honor towards the Princess by laying wreaths.

Consul General Bea Camp (center) at the event.

Princess Dara Rassamee was born on August 26, 1873, a daughter of Prince Intavichayanon of Chiang Mai. When she was 13, King Chulalongkorn brought her to the palace in Bangkok and she became the King’s concubine.

Upon the death of Prince Intavichayanon, King Chulalongkorn elevated her to the rank of one of his official wives.

Chao Korkaew Pakaikawil Na Chiangmai (2nd left) and other VIP guests at the ceremony.

When King Chulalongkorn passed away on October 23, 1910, the Princess continued to reside at Suan Farang Kang Sai Palace within the Dusit Palace, but in 1914, she asked King Vachiravudh’s (Rama VI) permission to return to her birthplace in the North.

Government officials lay wreaths at the monument.

The Darapirom Palace was built after King Rama VI gave his permission for the Princess to return home. The Princess used the palace for a number of different activities involved with Lanna people and art. She lived happily at the Darapirom Palace for almost 20 years, but on December 9, 1933, she died of lung disease at the age of 60.

Upon her death, the Darapirom Palace was bequeathed to her relatives. It was later purchased by Chulalongkorn University. The university has carried out extensive renovations to return the Palace to its original state. The Palace has also been opened to the public as a museum, showcasing objects connected with the Princess’s life and activities.

The exhibition “Nursemaids and Royal Servants of the Princess Dara Rassamee” will be on display until March 31, 2005 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information contact the Darapirom Palace at 0-5329-9175.

River transport possibilities

new choice for Chiang Mai

Nopniwat Krailerg

At this moment, Chiang Mai appears to be the hub of hubs, with PM Thaksin Shinawatra, a Chiang Mai local as he proudly boasts, leading the charge. There are new projects from the government now in progress, such as the aviation hub, medical and health hub, the Night Safari Zoo, the National Convention Center, Mass Transport System, and many others.

Fah Ham harbor under construction.

Whilst these will revitalize the Chiang Mai economy, they will also bring (even more) traffic congestion. However, nobody has paid much attention to public transportation by boat, despite the fact that the Ping River runs through the heart of the city.

Preecha Vorakul, president of Fah Ham Tambon Administration Organization, sees the prospect in conducting a public shuttle boat service from tambon Fah Ham pier to Chan Som Bridge, known as the Waroros Market.

Boats - the new alternative for Chiang Mai people.

This idea began five years ago and is gradually being realized. The first budget of 1.5 million baht was spent with 300,000 baht for building the boats and constructing a new pier behind Wat Ka Jao, on a 19 rai plot of public land.

The first boat trip was set to be inaugurated on December 5, the birthday of His Majesty the King, with Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor presiding. This project, if fully utilized, will decrease traffic jams on the main roads, reduce the number of private cars going downtown, and solve the air pollution problem in the city.

Mae Ping River Cruise Travel Service.

The first shuttle boat can seat up to 25 passengers, and will run from Fah Ham pier to Chan Som Bridge. The boat will also call in to the Ton Lum Yai Market pier and Maung Mai Market pier every hour. The operating hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. The fees are 10 and 15 baht for a single trip. All boat drivers and steersmen are well trained by the Harbor Department and have certificates. Every seat on the boat is equipped with a life jacket.

As demand increases for the service, Fah Ham TAO plans to increase the number of boats to five by 2007. Expansion proposals have received the green light, and the route may go up to Mae Rim district in the future.

Preecha Natrangamkum, who owns the Mae Ping River Cruise boat at Wat Chai Mongkol pier and one of the promoters of public transportation by river, and the investors in the municipality, said that he proposed this project in 1997 when Bussaba Yodbangtoey was mayor of Chiang Mai.

Unfortunately, nothing came of the proposal at the time. Now he has proposed the project to the municipality headed by Boonlert Buranuprakorn, but has not yet received a reply. According to his project, 11 piers will be constructed and 10 boats with 20-30 seats will be built. The total budget is 10 million baht.

“I live in Chiang Mai and have seen the congested Charoenprated Road where many schools are located, for example, Montfort School, Regina, Sacred Heart College, and Chairot School. It would be better if we have a river transport system. I have already proposed in the plan that a Walk Way should be constructed for students to walk to the pier. During rush hour, the number of boats should be increased,” said Preecha.

He added that he wished the project would be realized as it would add spice to the city, promote the province and ease people’s lives. His company would look after the service and the management. The municipality would get back some of the profits. He also supported the Fah Ham boat project, trained the boat drivers and helped decorate the boats.