Thais to Investigate King's Tomb in Mandalay

By Than Htike Oo 12 October 2012

The Thai government said it plans to send a fact-finding team to investigate a funereal site in Mandalay which is believed to be the ancient tomb of a Siamese king, according to Thai news website Matichon.

The announcement comes following reports that the cemetery in central Burma was to be destroyed to make way for an urban development project.

Thailand’s Permanent Secretary for Culture Somchai Seanglai reportedly told Matichon that the Thai authorities had received permission from the mayor of Mandalay to investigate the tomb.

He said it was an important matter for the Kingdom, and that the Thai authorities are in the process of forming a team which will include Thai historians and academics. However, he said no date has yet been fixed for the exercise.

Local residents in Mandalay say that Thai visitors frequently come to the site to pay their respects to the resting place of Siamese King Uthumphon.

The tomb resembles a small pagoda, and is larger than the surrounding grave markers at Linzin Hill graveyard on the edge of Taungthaman Lake in Amarapura Township, Mandalay Division.

According to Burmese history records, King Hsinbyushin (1736-76), the third king of Burma’s Konbaung Dynasty, invaded the ancient Thai capital Ayutthaya in 1767 and brought many of its subjects, including Uthumphon, back to his capital Ava.

Dr. Tin Maung Kyi, a well-known Burmese historian and Mandalay resident, previously told The Irrawaddy that records say the Thai king was in monkhood when he was brought back as a prisoner of war, and when he died in captivity his body was buried at Linzin Hill.

It is believed that Uthumphon died during the reign of King Bodawpaya (1745-1819), the sixth king of the same dynasty.

The authoritative History of Ayutthaya website says Uthumphon, who is better known as King Dok Madua or “fig flower” in Siamese history, was the youngest son of King Borommakot (1733-1758) and a minor queen called Phiphit Montri, and was appointed as uparat (Crown Prince) by his father. Uthumphon also means “fig flower” but in Sanskrit.

Related article: Siamese King’s Tomb to be Destroyed