The shrine of city pillar, Nakhon Si Thammarat
The shrine in Nakhon Si Thammarat houses the city pillar to promote the province’s prosperity according to traditional customs. It was inspired by the Srivijaya architectural style. The columns are made of valuable Ta Kien Thong wood (Malabar ironwood) from Nopphitam district. The faces of Jatukam Ramathep – the tutelary deity of the city – are engraved at the top.
The shrine complex consists of one main building encircled by four smaller ones. These minor pavilions signify the residential quarters of the four guardians of the world and enshrine four Mahayana Buddhist images. According to Thai folklore, when visiting a new city, it is recommended to pay homage to the city pillar and pray for protection. Nakhon Si Thammarat’s city pillar shrine is situated in Nai Muang sub district, Muang district.
Tourist attractions near the shrine of the city pillar
Historically, Nakhon Si Thammarat was a major center of Buddhism and had a close relationship with India and Lanka. This explains a large number of temples around the province, such as Wat Thaokhot, Wat Mahaeyong, Wat Sema Muang that tourists can visit for sightseeing or to make offerings. The province also hosts a Brahman temple which is the worship place for Hindu divinities, as well as, the Giant Swing used in the ceremony of Triiampwai in Bangkok. Not too far sits the sacred hall of Shiva Linga (Phra Isuan). Inside this religious site, there are several bronze images. One of them is a swan figure employed in the Great Swing of Nang Dan (the plank) which is now preserved in the National Musuem in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Only a stone's throw from the sanctuary, you will find yourself in a shopping arcade, so do not miss the chance to grab yourself some souvenirs. For instance, nielloware jewellery (Niello is a black mixture of copper, silver, and lead sulphides) used as an inlay on engraved or etched metal. that can be classified into two styles: black background with white low-relief, and gold background with black low-relief. Nielloware are commonly found around Tha Chang Road by Phra Baromathat temple and Tha Wang market. Lipao weaving products, such as basketry, handicrafts, and accessories incrusted with gold or silver to add value. Nakhon Si Thammarat is famous for its silk weaving with the technique called Yok from the Ratanakosin era. These silk products are as elaborate as those in the Royal Court and available in a variety of patterns, for example Rajawattra, Kaokee, etc. The main weaving hub of the province is in Ban Na-san, Ban Muang-khao and Ban Ma-muang Song Ton. However, nowadays expensive material like silk has been replaced by cotton. If you fancy buying some Yok textiles, they are prevalent around Wang Burapa plaza, Bavorn plaza and Robinson department stores.