Chakri Maha Prasat - Grand Palace
Chakri Maha Prasat – Grand Palace
Image by Jorge Lascar
The modern central court is dominated by the curious Chakri Maha Prasat hall. The hall was built by King Rama V and completed in 1882. Its unusual design is due to some controversy during its construction. The original architect was a Briton working in Singapore named John Clunich. Rama V wanted an entirely western look to his new home, but others in the court argued that the king’s residence and throne hall should reflect Siamese motifs. Thus the domed roof was replaced by a Thai styled roof. It should be no surprise that the Thai nickname for the building is the ‘westerner with a Thai hat’. The Chakri Maha Prasat is located on what used to be the elephant coral, and was later the house of King Rama V’s mother in which the future king was born. The base of the building houses the royal guards and a collection of ancient weapons is displayed in the arcades along the building’s front. This display is open to the public on weekdays only. On Saturday and Sunday, you can see some of the displays but the exhibit inside is closed. VIP Visitors enter the building by the grand staircases which flank the central hall and lead up to a large porch. Above the wrought iron and frosted glass doors is the emblem of the Chakri dynasty, a three-bladed sword (ri) with the handle passing through the center hole of a discuss (chak) with a sharpened edge. Just inside is the Front Audience Hall, which leads to the Central Throne Hall, containing a small niello throne.