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City Pillar Shrine, ( also known as San Lak Muang ) Lak Muang Rd ( Tha Chang Pier ). Bangkok,Thailand.

Bangkok, Page 86a, City Pillar Shrine, ( also known as San Lak Muang ) Lak Muang Rd ( Tha Chang Pier ). Bangkok,Thailand.

Bangkok City Pillar Shrine ( also known as San Lak Muang )

Located across the street from the eastern wall of Wat Phra Kaeo to the south east of Sanam Luang, this shrine contains a wooden pillar erected by King Rama I in 1782 to represent the founding of the capital. The spirit of the pillar is considered the city's guardian deity to whom hundreds of Thai worshippers daily come to pay homage and offer prayers.  

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 Phra Tabong Province ( now in Cambodia ).

However, after King Mongkut raised a new pillar in Bangkok, no further shrines in the provinces were built until 1944, when then-Prime Minister of Thailand Phibunsongkhram built a city pillar 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 Sadue Mueang  Navel or Omphalos of the City. In Roi Et, the City Pillar is placed in a Sala ( open-air pavilion ) on an island in the lake of the centre of the city.

Bangkok Page 43, Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan / The Golden Mount, in Pom Prap Sattru Phai district, Bangkok, Thailand.
Bangkok Page 43, Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan / The Golden Mount, in Pom Prap Sattru Phai district, Bangkok, Thailand.
Bangkok Page 42,  Mahakan Fort, Maha Chai Rd. Bowon Niwet, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand

The Giant Swing  near the City  Pillar Shrine.