Thursday, November 8, 2012

City Pillars or Lak Muang

City Pillars are scattered throughout Thailand having been built to represent an official city centre and are usually housed in a purpose built shrine. For example, the Chiangmai City Pillar is housed in a spirit house or shrine large enough to walk into.

Chao Mae Lak Muang Shrine a  City Pillar in Phuket
The City Pillar Shrine is dedicated to the Guardian Spirit of the City – the Phra Lak Muang. Such pillars were often originally built as a result of a battle with another country, more often than not this would be Burma. 

Battles during those times were usually fought based on the consultations of astrologers and soothsayers - resulting in a number of actions taking place. The oddest I read about was the cutting down of the largest Laburnum Tree nearest to where the battle would take place. The commander would then display this tree before the battle took place. It was psychologically important as to which army had the biggest specimen of the tree.

Following the battle, the tree became the city pillar of that day and would be protected by having a structure built around it.


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