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LEXICON

 

 

Phrae (แพร่)

Thai. ‘Propagate, spread’. Province (map) and its capital city of the same name in North Thailand, 551 kms to the North of Bangkok. It is situated on the southern banks of the Yom River and has a population of approximately 21,000. Phrae's history dates back to the Haripunchai period of the Mon, when in 828 AD, the phaya Phon (พล) or Pha-la (พละ) led a group of people from Wiang Phaang Kham (เวียงพางคำ), a city near the legendary city of Yonok which predates Chiang Saen, towards the South. They settled at the Yom River and founded a town called Meuang Phon (เมืองพล) or Pha-la Nakhon (พละนคร), named after their leader. In an inscription on the Stone of Ramkamhaeng, it is recorded that in 828 the phaya Phon had a first temple built in a place named Meuang Phlae (เมืองแพล). In the wihaan, a Buddha image was installed as the protector of the city and named Saen Luang, a name still associated with Phrae today. According to records from the Khmer period, the city was later referred to as Wiang Kohsai. Also this name is still related to Phrae today, as it is the name of a local National Park. According to legend, Phrae and Nan were in the past one kingdom ruled by two brothers, who decided to divide it between them, to be more easily reigned over. When they met on top of a mountain that overlooked their kingdom, to discuss the new borders, it is said that the one from Phrae rode to the meeting point on a horse, the other from Nan came with a cart pulled by an ox. Hence, Phrae now uses a horse in their provincial escutcheon, while Nan uses an ox (fig.), and each city added its own relic to it. Though another legend has it that when king Pha Kong (ผากอง), a local ruler, wanted to build a new town, he had a vision. In this dream he saw an ox cross the Nan River and draw a plan with a square structure in a certain area thus laying the foundation for the new city. When the king woke up he saw his dream as a vision and he had the new city walls built accordingly, and the chedi on the back of the ox, used in the seal of Nan, is here said to contain a relic that the then king received as a gift from seven monks from Sukhothai, whom he asked (arahtanah) to take it to the mountain Phiang Cha Haeng (เพียงแช่แห้ง). In 1443, Phrae became part of the kingdom Lan Na, when King Thilokarat (1441-1487) was on an expedition to seize Nan. Today, the region is known for the production of seua mo hom, a blue cotton farmer's shirt seen over much of Thailand and for Wat Phrathat Cho Hae a famous place of pilgrimage around 10 kms from the city centre of Phrae. Besides this, Phrae is the place where the famous love story of Phra Loh is set. This province has eight amphur. See also Phrae data file.