Phuket’s pillar party: Three-day extravaganza to ‘pillar’ in the festivities

Picture courtesy of ภานุวัฒน์ สืบนุการณ์.

A renowned three-day ceremony has been planned for August 5 to 7 to mark the installation of a City Pillar, also known as Lak Mueang, at the site of the upcoming Phuket Provincial Hall. The decision and details regarding the ceremonial event were confirmed at a recent meeting.

High-ranking governmental figures were present at the meeting, including Narong Woonciew, the incumbent governor of Phuket, Amnuay Pinsuwan, the vice governor, as well as Chantana Sitthiphan, who heads the local Phuket office of the Ministry of Culture. Engineers from the Fine Arts Department participating through an online conference call were commissioned to undertake the construction endeavour.

The construction cost of the new City Pillar was reported to be 849,900 baht. An identical replica of the wooden panel that shrouds the original City Pillar will be placed at the location of the new monument located at the Phuket Provincial Hall. The price tag associated with this venture is 428,810 baht, a budget that will be financed by the Sustainable Development Foundation, as confirmed by Governor Narong.

Moreover, the Royal Brahmin Office and the Office of the Royal Household were contacted by the Phuket Provincial Cultural Office for the ceremonies. Known Brahmins, Phra Suriya Songklod, and Phra Sayom Phu Yant, are set to sanctify the earth around the future column’s site all through the three-day ceremonial affair, according to Governor Narong. In readiness for the historic occasion, directional instructions have been issued to all involved government departments and agencies.

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The Lak Mueang, or city pillar shrine, plays a pivotal part in Thai tradition symbolising the community’s soul centre. Phuket is home to five such Lak Mueang, and the forthcoming one at Phuket Provincial Hall will be the sixth. The provincial Lak Mueang at Baan Muang Mai in Tambon Thepkrasattri, Thalang, has held this significant title for many years.

Interestingly, authorities from Phuket have decided to construct an additional, more majestic, Lak Mueang at Baan Muang Mai, fuelling a project set in motion since 2010.

Naruporn Saowanit, an architect from the Fine Arts Department, revealed that every provincial Lak Mueang in the nation is required to bear a likeness to the prime Lak Mueang in Bangkok, capturing an architectural design ethos set forth by King Mongkut, Rama 4.

In Saowanit’s words, “‘Lak Mueang’ in every province must have arches on all four sides and must be located on higher ground than the nearby roads and houses.” This declaration indeed underscores the historic and cultural significance that the ‘Lak Mueang’ or the ‘City Pillar’ upholds across the realm of Thailand, reaffirmed by this upcoming three-day ceremony in Phuket.

Phuket News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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