Sanam Luang ( th|สนามหลวง, ; lit: 'royal turf') is a open field and public square in front of Wat Phra Kaew
and the Grand Palace
. Sanam Luang is in the Phra Nakhon District
, the historic center of Bangkok.
In the ''Royal Chronicle'' it was written that, "In front of Wat Mahathat
, Sanam Luang lies between the Royal Palace
and the Front Palace
. When royal cremation was held at the Phra Men Ground, the pyre set up in the centre with the Royal Palace Pavilion to the south and the one of the Prince of the Front Palace
to the north. The music from the Royal Palace and from the Palace to the Front would be played on opposite sides of Sanam Luang".
Sanam Luang was officially known as "Thung Phra Men" (the royal cremation ground
) (Thai: ทุ่งพระเมรุ). It has been used as a site for the cremation of kings, queens, and high-ranking princes since the reign of King Rama I
. In 1855, King Rama IV
changed its name from "Thung Phra Men" to "Thong Sanam Luang", in common usage now shortened to "Sanam Luang".
The Fine Arts Department
lists Sanam Luang as a historical site.
Sanam Luang has been used since the time of King Rama I
. It was the site of royal ceremonies and functions, including the cremation of the Front Palace
, who was Rama I's brother. King Rama II
followed this example of performing royal ceremonies there, including the cremation of the Front Palace of his reign, who was also his beloved brother. The ''Royal Chronicles'' mention the close link between the two brothers as follows:
:"At the beginning of the season of the tradewind
, the king flew a Chula kite (star-shaped kite) in front of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
and the Prince of the Palace to the Front flew a Pakpao kite (plain kite) at Sanam Luang".
250px|The crematorium of Princess Galyani Vadhana, Sanam Luang
During the reign of King Rama III
, when Thailand was engaged in a conflict with Vietnam
over the Cambodia
n border, the king wished to demonstrate to other nations that Thailand was such a fertile, flourishing country that even the area in front of the Grand Palace was cultivated. Sanam Luang was then a normal plot of land, used for growing rice. When there was a royal funeral, it would be smoothed over to prepare for the event.
King Rama IV
set up a place for performing the Royal Ploughing Ceremony
(Thai: พระราชพิธีพืชมงคลจรดพระนังคัลแรกนาขวัญ) where low walls were put up and a small hall was built to place the Buddha image for the ceremony. Pavilions and towers were built near the king's seat when he watched the ploughing ceremony. Next to the king's pavilion there was a stage where plays were performed as part of the ritual of propitiating the gods. Outside the wall there was a barn where the rice would be stored.
King Rama V
enlarged Sanam Luang and pulled down all the buildings which were used for the ceremonies of former kings. In addition, it was no longer necessary to grow rice near the Royal Palace. The space was needed for the preparation of the centennial
celebration of Bangkok in 1897 which took place soon after King Rama V's return from Europe. It was a grand celebration also corresponding to the king's fiftieth birthday. Following a visit to the Javanese court
, where he was impressed by the gardens surrounding the sultan's place, Rama V ordered that two rows of tamarind
trees be planted encircling Sanam Luang. Two additional rows were planted about 1967, bringing the total to 783 trees.
Sanam Luang was still the place for kite flying. King Rama VI
again used the place in the same manner as former kings to perform various ceremonies. Also, it was used as a racetrack, and golf course as more foreigners came to visit and stay in the country.
King Rama IX
used Sanam Luang annually in May, for the Ploughing Ceremony and the Ceremony of Calling the Rain. There were various ceremonies performed at Sanam Luang, including the Bi-Centennial Celebration of Bangkok (Thai: พระราชพิธีฉลองกรุงรัตนโกสินทร์ครบ 200 ปี), in 1982, the grand celebration of the golden jubilee royal ceremony in 1996 (Thai: พระราชพิธีกาญจนาภิเษก) and the cremation of King Ananda Mahidol
in 1950, Queen Savang Vadhana
in 1956, Queen Rambhai Barni
of King Rama VII
in 1986, Princess Mother Srinagarindra
in 1996, Princess Galyani Vadhana
in 2008, and Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda
Following the 13 October 2016 death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej
, massive crowds flooded Sanam Luang to pay their respects to the late-king. His cremation took place here on 26 October 2017.
During 2020 Thai protests
, the field was a place of a rally on 19–20 September 2020, and the place where the "Second Khana Ratsadon Plaque" was installed. The plaque was removed within 24 hours, and protest leaders were charged with damaging a historical site.
Category:Parks in Bangkok
Category:Phra Nakhon District
Category:Squares and plazas in Bangkok
Category:Registered ancient monuments in Bangkok