Inthakin celebrations held to celebrate Chiang Mai Pillar
A young Chiang Mai family takes part in the time
honored rituals to pay respects to the Chiang Mai City Pillar.
A traditional ceremony to pay respect to the Chiang
Mai City Pillar, the Inthakin Pillar, started May 10 with a spectacular
light and sound show.
Deputy Governor Pairote Saengphuwong, accompanied by
high ranking officials attended the khan dok ceremony to present
offerings of bowls of flowers, incense sticks and candles to the
Inthakin Pillar, held annually at Wat Chedi Luang Worawiharn in Muang
The ceremony is a long held tradition important to
Chiang Mai residents. People who attended the ceremony attributed the
hour long rainfall before the ceremony as a result of the power of Phra
Chao Fon Saenha.
The ceremony began with a grand parade carrying the
Phra Chao Fon Saenha Buddha image, with Inthakin offerings, along the
city roads to end at Wat Chedi Kuang.
Deputy Governor Pairote presided over the opening
ceremony by hitting a victory gong, and then lit the candles and incense
sticks, sprinkled holy water, and offered all 32 khan dok (bowls of
candles, scent sticks, and flowers) marking the worshiping ceremony to
the Inthakin City Pillar. This ceremony is held to ask for normal
The highlight of the ceremony was to sprinkle holy
water and place the ‘khan dok’ on the city pillar. The light and sound
show was held for 7 days and 7 nights in front of the grand chedi, and
at the Inthakin Pole House in Wat Chedi Luang, ending May 17.
The Inthakin City Pillar was built in the regime of
King Kawila and renovated in the era of Khru Bah Sriwichai, the holy man
of the Lanna Kingdom many years ago.
During the festival, people in white clothes brought
flowers, incense sticks, and candles to put in one or more of 32 bowls,
and then placed in front of the Phra Attharos, the main Buddha image
which is housed in the Buddha image hall at the temple. After that they
sprinkle holy water onto the Phra Chao Fonsaenha Buddha image, followed
by alms giving to make merit, so as to bring luck and prosperity.
World Lychee Fair promotes tasty seasonal fruit
The World Lychee Fair in Chiang Mai is on until May 23 at
the Big C Arena in Don Chan. Organized by the Chiang Mai Provincial
Agriculture Office, the Farmers Network Group and the Lychee Growers Group,
the event is promoting this tasty seasonal fruit to residents and tourists
from Thailand and around the world.
Pretty Chiang Mai models promote the lychee festival in
With a 16 million baht budget to promote the fruit, the
fair is offering fresh fruit straight from the orchards and dried lychee
The Chiang Mai Provincial Authorities and a working
committee on fruits in the North have set aside a budget to help lychee
growers distribute this year’s 7,000 tons of lychee products to consumers.
Thani Thammasuwan, the Assistant Chief of Chiang Mai
Provincial Agriculture Office said lychee production in Chiang Mai this year
has dropped by more than 40 percent due to unseasonably warm weather in the
cool season which resulted in lychee trees producing less flowers than last
year, and so, less fruit.
He noted that this year’s production was about 16,052
tons, 11,870 tons less than last year’s production. Most of the lychee
fruits are produced in orchards in Fang, Chai Prakan, Mae Ai, Mae Rim, Mae
Taeng and Muang districts, on about 44,892 rai of land.
About 5,958 tons of fruit have already been harvested.
China makes up the largest export market for Thai lychees, with a total of
about 8,000 tons being exported annually.
Loei offers high
spirits this June
Phi Ta Khon Festival in Dan Sai
The Phi Ta Khon festival is unique to the Dan Sai
district in Loei Province and reflects the local Isaan belief in ghosts
and spirits. Held once a year, it is part of a grand merit-making
festival known as the “Boon Luang” festival.
The origins of the Phi Ta Khon Festival can be found
in the tale of Lord Buddha’s last great incarnation before attaining
Enlightenment. In Buddhist accounts, it is said that when Prince
Vessandara, the Buddha’s penultimate incarnation, returned to his city,
it was such a joyous occasion that the village spirits came forth to
join the welcoming parade. This very colorful and vibrant Phi Ta Khon
procession is the central focus of the celebrations.
In a lively re-enactment of the tale, the young men
of the community dress up as “spirits” wearing long trailing costumes
made from colorful strips of cloth sewn together.
The hideous-looking Phi Ta Khon mask which is made of
dried sticky rice husk is painted in bright red, green or other colors,
and features the characteristic long pointed nose. This completes the
transformation. The clanging sound of the square cowbells worn around
the waist announces the presence of the spirits who wield phallic-shaped
long-handled swords decorated with red paint. The good-natured,
fun-loving spirits mingle among the crowd, teasing and amusing all who
take part in the procession. Spectators and visitors are welcome to join
in the fun.
There are two types of “spirits” featured in the Phi
Ta Khon procession: “Phi Ta Khon Yai” (the supreme Phi Ta Khon), and the
“Phi Ta Khon Lek” (the ones that are commonly found). The making of the
Phi Ta Khon Yai involves the performance of a sacred ritual to seek the
blessings of the supreme powers before work on the Phi Ta Khon Yai masks
can be initiated. It is also a task reserved exclusively for the
descendants of families in which the tradition of making Phi Ta Khon
masks has been practiced for several generations. The Phi Ta Khon Yai is
made of bamboo and is dressed in either male or female attire.
The Phi Ta Khon Festival runs from June 12 to 14 in
the Dan Sai District of Loei Province. (TAT)
Visa-on-arrival (VOA) is now available at Yangon and
Mandalay International Airports for nationals of more than 100 countries
with which Myanmar has diplomatic ties. Previously, visas must be
arranged in advance before arrival.
All Asia Exclusive Travel managing director Phyoe Wai
Yar Zar said, “On May 1, four visitors from the Philippines were granted
VOA for the first time.”
A tourist VOA costs US$30 for a 28-day stay, business
VOA US$40 for a 70-day stay, social VOA US$40 for a 28-day and a transit
visa US$18 for 24-hour stay.
Visitors must stay at government-approved
accommodation establishments, with the exact address to be stated in the
Children under seven years of age travelling with the
parents are exempted from visa fees.
An individual traveler must show he has at least
US$300 (or the equivalent in another currency) on hand to Immigration,
as proof he can sustain himself during his visit; a family must take out
a wad of US$600 to show the officer.