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  1. #1
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    Pattaya Jomtien

    Bangkhunprom Palace Centenary

    Bangkhunprom Palace plans to celebrate its

    100th birthday

    with a royal visitor and hints of the past

    Bangkhunprom Palace, once the home of King Chulalongkorn's 33rd son, HRH Prince Paribatra Sukhumbhand, and now the Bank of Thailand Museum, will turn 100 on Thursday, December 28.

    To celebrate the occasion, a merit-making rite will be held in the morning. Then there will be traditional Thai music, performances, food and a flora show similar to those of a century ago. There will also be a Thai cooking contest and a lecture by experts on the palace's architecture and art.

    In the afternoon, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside. She will meet with central bank governor Tarisa Watanagase and the Paribatra family.

    After touring the palace's new exhibition room featuring the life and a wax sculpture of HRH Prince Paribatra Sukhumbhand, the Princess will view various activities in the palace compound, including booths offering rare Thai dishes, orchids and decorative trees. She will listen to traditional Thai music and have dinner. The highlight will be a rare Thai dance called bart sakunee.

    Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Bangkhunprom Palace is significant in terms of architecture, art and history, and is renowned for its sublime stucco, rococo, baroque and German art nouveau architecture.

    Completed in 1906 on King Chulalongkorn's command, the palace comprises Tamnak Yai, the mansion for HRH Prince Paribatra Sukhumbhand, and Tamnak Somdej, the mansion for the prince's mother, HM Queen Sukhumala Marasri.

    Designed by Italian architect Mario Tamagno in the rococo and baroque styles, Tamnak Yai has a high roof and dormers as well as splendid stucco art upon its reliefs and the square, oval and round-shaped windows.

    The mansion's Pink Room, decorated with gold and portraits of the prince, his royal parents, sister, aunt and consort, is the most important room, reserved for welcoming monarchs, country leaders and VIPs only.

    Designed in the German art nouveau fashion by German architect and engineer Karl Dohring, Tamnak Somdej has a high ceiling in the main hall, long staircases linking parts of the building together, mosaic decorations and finely carved wood. The highlight is a fresco, created by Italian artist Carlo Rigoli, whose pieces can also be found in the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall.

    The roofs of both mansions are made of diamond-shaped tiles, known by Thais as krabuang wao. In addition, the palace's main gate is hailed as Thailand's most beautiful stucco entrance.

    Throughout the 30 years of the prince's stay, Bangkhunprom Palace was called ''Bangkhunprom University'' because of the gatherings of artists and gurus in many fields, especially music, ancient Chinese ceramics and a kind of ornamental trees, or mai dud in Thai, that the prince loved.

    The palace was turned into government offices after the 1932 revolution, and became the office of the central bank in 1945, and the abode of the Bank of Thailand Museum in 1992, with exhibits featuring the prince's life, the history of the central bank and Thai and foreign currencies.

    HRH Prince Paribatra Sukhumbhand was distinguished in many aspects, especially military, administration, art and music. He composed 73 traditional Thai and modern songs, including Kaek Mon Bangkhunprom, March Paribatra and Mararuek, and wrote the country's first book on orchids.

    The prince once said, ''If I had had choices, I would have chosen to study music and languages. But, I had not, as I must serve the country.''

    After the revolution, the prince went into exile in Bandung, Indonesia, where he enjoyed gardening and music until his death.

    To see the beauty of Bangkhunprom Palace and the prince's work and talents, the public is welcome to the Bank of Thailand Museum on weekdays from 9:30am to 4pm in pre-arranged groups of at least 10. Advance booking of at least one week is needed via 02-283-5286 or 02-283-6723 or somkids
    bangkok post

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
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    Pattaya Jomtien
    Grand ceremony will relive days of prince

    Bang Khunphrom Palace will today come back to life with a number of guests donning traditional Thai costumes amid the retro atmosphere and traditional Thai music from a "Pipat" band - in a tribute to HRH Prince Paribatra Sukhum- bhandhu, who built the palace 100 years ago.

    Aside from a religious ceremony in the morning, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the evening function when she is to pay respects to the prince, one of the sons of King Rama V, and enjoy the activities.

    All the events are designed to bring back the old days when the palace was a peaceful residence of Prince Paribatra, the grandfather of two former central bankers - MR Chatu Mongol Sonakul and MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, whose former office is located in the same premises.

    In a tribute to Prince Paribatra in June, the Bank of Thailand turned the "porcelain room" on the second floor of the main building into the prince's room.

    A wax statue of the prince was completed, donned in the dress of an admiral, as instructed by HH Princess Induratana, the only one of his 10 children who is still alive. It is located in the centre of the room, where his hand-written letters from Bandung were exhibited alongside with musical instruments, plus multimedia presentations to tell the prince's life story.

    In the old days, the palace was famous for originating new things, particularly music and food. It also housed an orchid house, a theatre and a mini golf course. It was said music never stopped at Wang Bang Khunphrom.

    Prince Paribatra himself composed a number of western songs - marching songs and waltzes - some of which still can be heard today. In the old days, there was a traditional Thai music band which created a number of songs.

    Overlooking the Chao Phya River and the Rama VIII Bridge, the site has two main buildings which boast the beauty of baroque and rococo architecture. Completed in 1906, after the prince finished his military school in Germany and returned to the Kingdom, the palace was his residence for 28 years.

    After the political reform in 1932, Prince Paribatra moved to the Ananta Samakhom Palace and next to Bandung, Indonesia, where he stayed until the last days of his life. Then, the palace was the office of several state agencies, until the Bank of Thailand took over it in 1961 and renovations started.

    "Several changes have been made to the buildings as they were extensively used after the reform. When the Bank of Thailand took possession of this place it was in a run-down condition. The buildings were extended in some parts and some parts were modified," said Boonlert Trakulkajornsak, chief of the Bank of Thailand's second architecture unit.

    The palace underwent massive renovations in 1989, when the Bank of Thailand's offices were moved to the new building nearby. The renovation required a preliminary cost of Bt46 million, excluding decorations. Chandeliers, new paintings, and new furniture were brought in. It was a time when beautiful frescos were discovered and are today held as one of the main attractions of the palace, which has been turned into a museum.

    Yet, due to limited resources, the museum - dedicated to be one of Thailand's best places for currency information - is open to groups of no more than 10 visitors.
    The good news is that, after the celebration today, the Bank of Thailand Museum may consider opening it to the public, so all can enjoy the beauty of one of Thailand's old palaces.

    Achara Deboonme
    The Nation

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