|Location:||Near Dusit Palace|
|Highlights:||First statue in honor of a Thai King|
King Chulalongkorn or King Rama V is one of the most legendary figures in the history of Thailand’s monarchy. Revered by all, he was a benevolent king with a modern outlook, who eradicated various social evils, including slavery, from the Thai kingdom. He also had an amiable deportment, which helped him establish friendly relations with the European royalty and other neighboring countries. Indeed, during his imperial rule of 42 yrs, he played a pioneering role in paving the way for a modernized Thailand.
Even today, a living memory of this great monarch is present in Bangkok, in the form of his equestrian monument near the Dusit Palace. In fact, it was the first statue built in honor of a Thai king, erected to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the coronation of the King. Sculpted in bronze, the statue was cast in Paris and saw completion in 1908. However, quite tragically, the king died after two years, in October 1910. Even today, on his death anniversary, people gather near the statue and show their gratitude towards their former monarch.
For many Thai people, the statue of Rama V is an object of worship. According to beliefs, those who seek their blessings from the King get their prayers answered in the form of good fortune, especially in business. Therefore, devotees visit the statue, pay their obeisance to the king and light candles and incense sticks at the site. Many followers also present brandy, believed to be the king’s favorite liquor. On Tuesday – the day when the king was born, the whole place sees swarms of devotees, who visit the statue to genuflect and pray for good luck and prosperity.