Chonburi recalls ‘elephant battle’ of 1593 on Armed Forces Day


Chonburi marked Royal Thai Armed Forces Day with a commemoration of King Naresuan, who on the same date in 1593 felled a Burmese prince in the fabled “elephant battle” of Nong Sarai.

Gov. Khomsan Ekachai presided over the Jan. 18 ceremony before the King Naresuan Victory Monument at the 21st Infantry Regiment. Soldiers, bureaucrats and local residents attended, laying flowers at the statue to pay homage to one of Thailand’s most revered monarchs.

King Naresuan Victory Monument stands tall at the 21st Infantry Regiment. King Naresuan Victory Monument stands tall at the 21st Infantry Regiment.

Naresuan was king of the Ayutthaya Kingdom from 1590 until his death in 1605. He was known for his campaigns to free Siam from Burmese rule and his numerous wars helped Siam reach its greatest territorial extent and influence.

During the Chonburi ceremony, Khomsan retold the romanticized version of the 1593 battle that has come to be known as “Yuddhahatthi.” According to the fable, which has been retold and embellished over the centuries, Naresuan was about to invade Cambodia when he had to change plans to beat back an attack from Burmese Prince Minchit Sra.

During the battle, Naresuan’s elephants went mad and ran into the midst of the Burmese. Siamese legend contends the Burmese tried to fool the defenders with Minchit imposters, but Naresuan was able to point out the real general and challenged him to a one-on-one battle on the back of elephants. The Siamese king suffered a cut to the head, but fought back, slashing the Burmese prince to death on Jan. 18, 1593, which later was designated a holiday to commemorate Thai forces from all centuries. (CPRD)