Conserving the Culture of Phra Prang Shrines in Thailand: The State of Ceremonial Customs in Three Thai Prang

Phrakhru Palad Chaiwat, Songkoon Chantachon, Phrakhru Vinaitorn Manop Palapan


Ceremonial customs at Thai prang temples are important reflections of national belief and heritage that must be conserved for future generations. This qualitative research was conducted from May 2011 to May 2012 using the research tools of survey, observation, interview, focus group discussion and workshop. Aimed at assessing the current conditions and problems with preservation of ceremonies in three Thai prang temples, this investigation highlights domestic and foreign tourism as major threats to heritage maintenance. The emphasis on maximisation of tourism revenue, prioritising the tourist experience and central government control has weakened local community influence and reduced the number of ‘living’ prang-related ceremonies. Of those ceremonies that do exist, few directly concern the prang, which instead provide a dramatic and scenic backdrop for tourists to admire. If prang ceremonial customs are to continue, tourism must take a back-seat to cultural inheritance.

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Asian Culture and History   ISSN 1916-9655(Print)   ISSN 1916-9663 (Online)

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