Inthakhin Pillar, origin of Paveni Puja Inthakhin, Thailand

Thailand Home About Thailand Dining Entertainment
Attractions Practical Requirements Chiang Mai Zoo Paveni Puja Inthakhin
Kao Soy Dao Park Khao Luang Surin Islands Gemstones
Butterflies Thai Products Economy Getting Around

Find the best deals on accommodation at Thailand right here!

The term "inthakhin" is derived from two Pali words, "Inda" and "Khila." Inda (in Pali) or Indra (Sanskrit) literally means the God Indra and khilasignigfies the pillar or post. In the case of Chiang Mai, the Inthakhin is also called "Lak Muang ", meaning the city pillar according to the ancient Tai belief. Thus, the Paveni Puja Inthakhin as mentioned above is a festival of worshipping the pillar of the God Indra; it is an annual is a festival of worshipping the pillar of the God Indra; it is an annual worship of the city pillar of Chiang Mai at the begining of rainy season.

Origin of Paveni Puja Inthakhin

H.E.Kauffmann (1971) has shown that in the past the Lawa of Lanna used to erect stone memorials, notably menhirs, as the Lao of Samneua Prefecture have contemporarily might be a wooden substitute of the previous stone pillar (Kauffmann, 1971 : 138)

Today, some old Lawa or Lua villages still have a village pillar which they call" Sao Sakang". For instance , the Lawa at Ban Chiang Mo Noi, Tambon Papae, Mae Sariang District , Mae Hong Son Province claim that the tradition of sao sakang worship in their village has been transmitted from that of Chiang Mai. According to information, the sao sakang is ceremonially set up in a similar way as was done with the inthakhin pillar in Chiang Mai. The different is that the Lawa present sao sakag is made of the hard wood instead of stone. Some sao sakang is beautifully made as that found at Ban Chang Mo Noi. The other is as simple as the one seen at a ruined village.

At present, the above mentioned pillar at the village of Ban Chang Mo Noi is periodcally worshipped; a grand sacrifice might be made every 5-10 years or more than that. the ritual is usually held during the seventh month called ken alae which corresponds to March and April. A large sum of money is spent in the ceremony. The main sacrifice consists of two or three black water buffaloes, and other prepitiatory items comprise a big female black pig and several chickens which every household must contribute one chicken each. A simple sacrifice might be made any time when the village met with trouble . For instance, people in the village get sick or die more often than in usual time.

Every time when a grand sacrifice to the great spirit or phi yai is made, a new sao sakang has to be put up besides the older one and higher than the former. At present , the chicken is used instead of human being for burying with the pillar . The way they kill the animal and interpret when it fell down is almost the same with the buffalo sacrifice which is offered to the Pu Sae (and) Ya Sae at Doi Kham, Tambon Mae Hia, Chiang Mai as mentioned earlier.

In fact, according to MFB, the tradition of inthakhin worshipping in Chiang Mai originally belonged the Lawa or Lua People, the aborigines of the Mae Ping Valleys. When King Mangrai took over the Chiang Mai area, he carried on this tradition so wholeheartedly that he built his residence in that spot where the Lawa palace was erected (Notton 1926 : 41-44)

What did the original Inthakhin pillar of Chiang Mai look like? According to MFB, it would be a high stone, on which was lying a white barking deer, discovered by the Lawa while cleaning the area for their new city. Having been informed of this to worship the stone every holy day (wan phra) and to build to palace for their king over there (Notton, 1926:39)

Present Site of Inthakhin Pillar

Five centuries after Mangrai founded Chiang Mai, under the direct Siamese administration at the end of 19th century , the Inthakhin pillar was moved southwards to Wat Chedi Luang. It was then renovated and a pavilion called "vihan chaturamukh" (four-faced building) was built to enshrine it.