Off The Beaten Track – National Museum of Royal Barges
On April 1932 King Rama VII crossed the lower span of the Memorial Bridge and embarked on the barge Suphanahong to travel by barge procession to the Grand Palace to mark the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Chakri Dynasty and Bangkok as the capital city. That was the last Royal Barge Procession of an absolute Monarch of Siam, for the following June a coup d'etat changed the government from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy. The barges were then kept at the dry dock on the Bangkok Noi Canal under the care of Royal Household and Royal Navy.
The barge sustained severe damage during bombing of Bangkok in World War ll, soon after his return from school in Europe, the present king; H.M.King Bhumibol Adylvadej went to see the barges in their dock. Noting their deterotiatiom, His Majesty ordered their restoration; and decided to revive the ancient tradition of the Royal Barge Procession for auspicious occasions. Artists under the direction of the Fine Arts Department spent more than a year repairing the damage. In 1972 this dock was then renovated and established by the Fine Arts Department as the National Museum of Royal Barges.
Royal Barge Procession
The earliest historical evidence concerning royal barges dates from the Sukhothai period, which mentions briefly some names of royal vessels participated in certain waterborne state ceremonies. The names of barges mentioned are Rua Prathinang Prahat Saeng Chan (Toyal Barge for Appreciation of Moon - light), Rua Pratinang Chai Chalerm Tharanin (Royal Barge of Victory Over the Land); and Rua Prathinang Chai Sinthuphiman (Royal Barge of Victory on the Celestia River).
946 Rama IV Road
1699 (within Thailand)
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