Chonburi marks King Narai Day

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Chonburi marked the 325th anniversary of the death of Thailand’s greatest king of Ayutthaya with a garland-laying ceremony at Chalermprakiet Pavilion.

Gov. Khomsan Ekachai presided over the July 11 ceremony, which saw a presentation of flowers to mark the death of the Narai Maharat – or King Ramathibodi III – in 1688.

The date was set as an official holiday by the Cabinet in 2010.

Gov. Khomsan Ekachai leads ceremonies to mark the 325th anniversary of the death of King Narai the Great.Gov. Khomsan Ekachai leads ceremonies to mark the 325th anniversary of the death of King Narai the Great.

King Narai the Great was the King of Ayutthaya from 1656 to 1688 and arguably was the most famous Ayutthayan monarch. His reign marked the kingdom’s greatest era of prosperity but, more importantly, opened the then-Siam to the west by forming close relations with France and giving other foreigners significant influence at the royal court.

The period was also marked with turmoil, as England declared war against Siam after Narai ordered the slaughter of every English settler in the city of Mergui – now part of Myanmar – and invaded Burmese Lanna in 1662. The king’s willingness to give foreigners power at court also laid the foundation of the revolution of 1688.

Historians say the most-remarkable aspect of Narai’s reign were his diplomatic missions sent to France, England, and the Vatican, as well as Persia, India and China closer to home.