My training rides occasionally takes me in and around the town of Don Chedi in the Suphunburi district. This time is was for the Don Chedi annual and major memorial and Red Cross fair during January and February.
The event is meant to commemorate the glorious victory of King Naresuan the Great in a traditional royal battle on elephant back. The fair includes a Muay Thai show, a bazaar of OTOP, products, an exhibition of public and private organizations, and many cultural performances.
Regarded as a respected hero and warrior in Thai history, King Naresuan reigned over the Thai kingdom from 1590 to 1605 during the Ayutthaya period. When he was nine years old, Prince Naresuan was taken as a hostage to Burma, now Myanmar, after the Ayutthaya King was overrun by the powerful Burmese army. He was brought up in the Burmese royal court. His close companion was Burmese Crown Prince Min Chit Swa, known among Thais as Phra Maha Upparacha. At the age of 16, Prince Naresuan returned to Ayutthaya and was appointed Crown Prince by his father, King Maha Thammaracha, the then ruler of the Thai vassal state under Burmese rule. He immediately built up his own forces and set his aim to liberate the Ayutthaya Kingdom from the Burmese.
After succeeding his father as king in 1590, King Naresuan fended off the Burmese on several occasions. The most glorious battle was his duel on elephant back with his childhood friend Crown Prince Min Chit Swa, who was killed in the fight. It took place on 18 January 1592 at Nong Sarai field in Suphan Buri. The Thai government later designated 18 January Thai Armed Forces Day to commemorate King Naresuan’s heroic deeds. Following the battle on elephant back, King Naresuan ordered the construction of a pagoda at Nong Sarai field in memory of the Burmese Crown Prince. When the pagoda was discovered in 1913, King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) organized a grand celebration. Later, in 1952, a committee was formed by the Royal Thai Army to carry out a major renovation of the pagoda, together with the construction of a statue of King Naresuan on elephant back, which is generally referred to as Don Chedi Memorial.
Today, the Memorial has become a landmark of the central province of Suphan Buri, about 107 kilometers from Bangkok by car. Suphan Buri has a vision to develop itself as a leading province for producing quality food and products at international standards. Local residents take pride in the Don Chedi Memorial Fair, which has been organized on an annual basis since 1959.
Time to meet another icon in the region, Kim Ronn Jensen, from Kim’s Pizza House in Dan Chang. I visit Kims on a regular basis to load up on those necessary carbohydrates the night before my big rides. For those long distance cyclist passing through the region I recommend a visit to Kims to carb load for that long journey ahead. Closed on Mondays
Truck Sams still Truckin on The Long Ride Home for PTSD Awareness