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Uthai Thani (อุทัยธานี)

Thai. Name of a  province (map) and its capital city in Central Thailand, 219 kms north of Bangkok on the West bank of the Sakae Krang river, a tributary to the Chao Phraya. The city has a population of approximately 30,000 with a large community of Karen. In the northwest of the city is a mountain named Khao Sakae Krang (เขาสะแกกรัง). At the bottom of the mountain is the wihaan of Wat Sangkat Rattana Khiri (วัดสังกัสรัตนคีรี), that houses a gilded Buddha image known as Phra Phuttha Mongkhon Saksit (พระพุทธมงคลศักดิ์สิทธิ์). The image dates from the Sukhothai period and was cast in the reign of the 14th century King Mahadhammaracha Lithai (fig.). Opposite of the wihaan is a long naga-staircase with 449 steps that that leads to the summit of Khao Sakae Krang (fig.), which offers a bird's-eye view of the city, and has a mondop that houses a Buddhapada, as well as a large bronze bell that hangs in front of the mondop and which was built in the reign of King Rama V. It is said that this bell is sacred and that visitors to the province who have not rung it have not truly seen the province. Also at the summit is a pavilion with a large statue of Somdet Phra Pathom Borom Maha Chanoknaht, i.e. the Royal Father of King Rama I, who was born in the Ayutthaya period as Thongdi at Ban Sakae Krang in the Sakae Krang River basin in the old city of Uthai Thani. The mountain's name akin to the old name of this region, i.e. Meuang Sakae Krang. Uthai Thani is known for its unspoiled nature, such as Hup Pah Tahd (map - fig.), and Khao Sakae Krang, a mountain range between the Huai Yai River in the North and the Khlong Yai River in the South. Huai Kha Khaeng is a Wildlife Sanctuary and a World Heritage Site that borders Tak Province, covers an area of 2,574 kmē, and is home to a large variety of animals, including tigers and elephants. The province has eight amphur, and the provincial flower is that of the Silk Cotton Tree (fig.), which grow abundantly on Mount Sakae Krang. See also Uthai Thani data file.