Doi Inthanon residents commemorate King Inthawichayanon
The annual ceremony to honor the last Lanna king, King
Inthawichayanon, took place on Doi Inthanon on November 23, the anniversary
of his death in 1897. Chao Duangduen na Chiengmai, a member of the Chiang
Mai royal family and one of the king’s descendants, Somsak Pirayakultorn,
Chorm Thong District Chief Officer, and representatives from different
organizations in Chiang Mai presented offerings at the stupa which holds the
remains of King Inthawichayanon.
Duangduen na Chiengmai, making merit in honor of her ancestor, King
Lanna dance performances, a display dedicated to the King’s life and his
efforts to develop education were presented and residents took part in a
Buddhist ceremony to pay respect at the King’s stupa in honor of the 112th
anniversary of his death.
King Inthawichayanon was the 7th and last King of Chiang Mai. His daughter,
Princess Dara Rasmi became the wife of King Rama V. Before he died, he
expressed a desire that his remains be placed at the peak of the highest
mountain in Chiang Mai so that he could watch over his subjects and show his
concern for the preservation of the forests of Northern Thailand. The
mountain, Doi Luang, was renamed Doi Inthanon after his death. His daughter,
Princess Dara Rasmi, had the stupa built for her father’s remains in 1915.
This stupa, at the top of Doi Inthanon,
Thailand’s highest peak,
holds the remains of the 7th King of Chiang Mai, King Inthawichayanon.
A Lanna dance performance commemorating
the life of King Inthawichayanon at Doi Inthanon.
U.S. Ambassador helps to preserve
Phrae’s traditional old homes
The many stately old wooden homes of Phrae province received a boost
when the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Eric G. John, was on hand to present a
check from the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Program to Dr.
Pisit Chareonwongsa, Director of SEAMEO-SPAFA (Southeast Asian Ministers of
Education Organization). The Community Based Architectural Heritage
Preservation Project in Phrae, operating under the supervision of the
SEAMO-SPAFA, will work to raise public awareness of the value and importance
of traditional architecture with a hope to engaging the local community in
working towards preservation of old building techniques and buildings.
G. John, the U.S.Ambassador to Thailand presents a symbolic check for
$20,000 to Dr. Pisit Charoenwongsa and Phrae Deputy Governor Seri
The magnificent former home of the last Chao Luang, or Lord of Phrae, was
the site of the presentation ceremony and a better location could not have
been chosen. This lovely old building boasts a museum featuring many of
Phrae’s archaeological interests. The former Governor’s home dates back to
the last Lord of Phrae, Chao Phiriya Thepawong, who founded Phrae’s first
school, the Piriyalai School which is still open, and established Phrae’s
first police force.
Ambassador John told the assembled group that this is the 9th Ambassador’s
Cultural Fund grant to be given in Thailand. “We are donating 20,000 dollars
to inventory and document the beautiful traditional wooden houses that we
see in Phrae, raise public awareness in the value of the traditional
architecture in Phrae, and to engage the local community in the preservation
of these houses”, he continued, “I think we would all agree that Thailand’s
cultural heritage is one of its most precious assets”
Ambassador Eric G. John and Eugene Long join the Director for the Seri Thai
museum at the rebuilt museum in Phrae.
Ambassador John, along with Phrae’s Deputy Governor, the Vice President of
the Phrae Provincial Administration Organization, the President of the Phrae
Cultural Council, Phrae’s mayor, Chiang Mai University students, members of
the media and the local community, all enjoyed a traditional dance
performance from students from the Nariwat School in Phrae.
The group, joined by well known advocate for the Yellow Leaf people, or the
Mlabri as they prefer to be known, Eugene Long and his daughter Crystal,
along with assembled group, then took a tour through Phrae on the three
wheeled pedicabs known as samlors. The procession visited Vongburi House,
built in 1897 by Luang Ponpiboon and his wife Chao Sunantha, descended from
the former Chao Luang. This beautiful home still remains in the family and
now holds exhibits featuring antique furniture and original family
documents. The elaborate wood carvings are original to the house, which has
been repainted its original pink color.
former home of Phrae’s last Chao Luang, Lord Phiriya Thepawong, the site of
the check presentation.
Several other old teak homes, including a 113 year old home that belonged to
the first Presbyterian missionaries, were visited. Undergoing renovations,
it is hoped that they will eventually be restored to their former glory. The
tour wrapped up with a visit to the Seri Thai, or Free Thai museum, which
showcases the wartime efforts of the Thai resistance to the Japanese.
Ambassador Eric G. John greets his pedicab driver.
The Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation was established by the U.S.
Congress in 2001 and has helped preserve cultural sites, practices and
objects that are historically or culturally significant. “The Fund allows
American ambassadors to support efforts of their host countries to rescue
cultural heritage that is fragile and in danger of being lost forever”
Ambassador Eric G. John has said. The Fund is currently taking applications
for its 2010 grants and encourages people to submit proposals before the
December 10 deadline. Applications can be found online: