Phra Narai Ratchaniwet ( King Narais Palace ) The palace was built in 1665 and 1677,
when King Narai the Great decided to make Lopburi the second capital of the Ayutthaya
Kingdom. Although the buildings were designed by with the contributions of French
architects, the Khmer influence was still strong. The Palace was a perfect blend
of the both world, an awesome mixture of Khmer - European styles.
After the death of King Narai the Great in 1688, the palace was deserted. It was
not until the reign of King Rama IV during the Rattanakosin era, that the Palace
was restored and renamed Narai Ratchaniwet.
The Palace is located in the town centre, between Ratchadamnoen Road and Pratu Chai
Road. The whole complex has been turned into the Lopburi National Museum ( commonly
known as King Narai National Museum ).
The Palace can be reached through the Pratu Phayakkha, which is currently a town
park, located off Sorasak Road. The Palace opens Wednesdays through Sundays from
7.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Within the Palace lies several compounds containing pavilions, some built during
the reign of King Narai and others constructed during the reign of King Rama IV.
Structures built during the reign of King Narai the Great include:
Chantara Phaisan Pavilion The first Palace of King Narai the Great in Lopburi, the
Pavilion was subsequently turned into an audience hall after he moved his residence
to the Suttha Sawan Pavilion. The fact that the building is of pure Thai architectural
style indicates that no French architects were involved in the design and construction
process. King Rama IV ( King Mongkut of the Rattanakosin era ) restored the building
in 1863. The Pavilion was once used by the privy-council as a meeting hall. Now,
it serves as a hall displaying archaeological and art objects, especially the Lopburi
- style stone Buddha images, historic paintings from the era of King Narai the Great
and Buddhist art objects from the Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin period.
Phra Khlang Supharat This compound was built as a place to store royal treasures
and royal goods sold to foreign merchants during the late 1600’s. It is commonly
known as the Twelve Treasure Houses.
Elephant and Horse Stables This compound is located close to the wall separating
the outer and middle sections of the Palace.
The Water Reservoir Constructed during the reign of King Narai the Great, the reservoir
stored water which came from a freshwater lake Tale Chupsorn, through the well designed
terra cotta pipes. Tale Chupsorn was the main lake supplying drinking water to Lopburi