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Phra Narai (พระนารายณ์)

Thai name for the Hindu god Vishnu, who in Thai iconography (fig.) is also depicted with a purple complexion (fig.) and four arms, but with a trident (fig.), which in Hinduism is the weapon and symbol of the gods Shiva and Indra, but in Thailand also a symbol of the Chakri Dynasty. Phra Narai is a name in Thailand also used for any of Vishnu's avatars, such as Rama, the protagonist in the epic Ramayana, as well as of Narayana, the Hindu god of creation, from whom the Thai name obviously derives. Phra Narai is depicted on a 2013 Thai postage stamp, as part of a set of eight khon masks (fig.) issued to commemorate the annual Thai Heritage Conservation Day by publicizing the national art of khon. In his avatar as Thanwantari, he is considered a health deity, also referred to as phaet sawan, i.e. physician of heaven. See also LIST OF RAMAKIEN CHARACTERS.