- Lak Mueang
Lak Mueang (Thai: หลักเมือง) are City pillars found in most cities of Thailand. Usually housed in a shrine which is also believed to house Chao Pho Lak Mueang (เจ้าพ่อหลักเมือง), the city spirit deity; it is held in high esteem by citizens.
It was probably King Rama I, who erected the first city pillar on April 21, 1782, when he moved his capital from Thonburi to Bangkok. The shrine was actually the first building of his new capital, the Palace and other buildings were created later.
Shortly after the shrine in Bangkok, similar shrines were built in strategic provinces to symbolize central power, such as in Songkhla. Further shrines were created during the reign of King Buddha Loetla Nabhalai (Rama II) in Nakhon Khuen Khan and Samut Prakan, and by King Nangklao (Rama III) in Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi and Battambang (now Cambodia). However, after King Mongkut raised a new pillar in Bangkok, no further shrines in the provinces were built until 1944 Then Prime Minister of Thailand Phibul Songkhram had a city pillar built in Phetchabun, as he intended to move the capital to this town. Though this plan failed to get approval by the parliament, the idea of city pillars caught on, and in the following years several provincial towns built new shrines. In 1992, the Ministry of Interior ordered that every province now should have such a shrine. However, as of 2010 a few provinces still have no city pillar shrine. In Chonburi the shrine is scheduled to be finished by end of 2011.
The building style of the shrines varies. Especially in provinces with a significant Thai Chinese influence, the city pillar may be housed in a shrine that resembles a Chinese temple; as, for example in Songkhla, Samut Prakan and Yasothon. Chiang Rai's City Pillar is not housed in a shrine at all; but, since 1988, is in an open place inside Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong; it is called the Sadu Mueang (TH: สะดือเมือง), Navel or Omphalos of the City.
- Peter A. Reichark. The Spirit Houses of Thailand. White Lotus Press. ISBN 9789744801036.
- "The power of city pillars". http://www.chiangmai1.com/news/city-pillars.shtml.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.