Thao Suranari Monument

Thao Suranari Monument information

Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) , Thailand
Th Rajadamnern
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Thao Suranari, wife of the city's assistant governor during the reign of Rama III, is something of a wonder woman in these parts. Ya Mo (Grandma Mo), as she's affectionately called, became a hero in 1826 by organising a successful prisoner revolt after Chao Anou of Vientiane had conquered Khorat during his rebellion against Siam. As one version of the legend has it, she convinced the women to seduce the Lao soldiers and then the Thai men launched a surprise attack, which saved the city.

Her exploits have probably been greatly exaggerated or completely concocted (some scholars suggest that she didn't even exist) to instil a sense of Thai-ness in the ethnically Lao people of the province, but locals and visiting Thais dismiss all of this entirely and flock to the monument in adoring droves to burn incense and leave offerings of flowers and food. Those whose supplications have been honoured hire singers to perform pleng koh·râht (Khorat folk song) on small stages.

Her monument sits photogenically in front of Chumphon Gate , the only original gate left standing: the other three are recent rebuilds. It was a part of the city walls erected in 1656 by French technicians on the orders of Ayuthaya King Narai. The little white building north of this gate that resembles the old fortifications is Suranari Hall , a museum of sorts with a cool diorama and even cooler sculpted mural creatively depicting the famous battle.