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Lampang (ลำปาง)

Thai. Name of a Thai province as well as its provincial capital (map) with a population of approximately 43,000, situated in the broad river valley of the Wang River, in northern Thailand, 599 kms North of Bangkok. The city is surrounded by mountain chains and was formerly known by the names Khelang Nakhon (เขลางค์นคร) and Kukkut Nakhon (กุกกุฎนคร - the city of cocks). Legend has it that in ancient times a cock was placed at the city gates, to wake up the bodisattvas so they could bless the city and bring it unremitting honour. Its history dates back nearly 14 centuries, to the Dvaravati period, and according to legend was founded in the 7th century by King Anantayot, the son of Queen Chamadevi, the then ruler of the Mon kingdom of Haripunchai, present-day Lamphun. In the 11th century it was occupied by the Khmer until 1281, when it was recaptured by king Mengrai, who soon after made it part of the Lan Na kingdom. During the Ayutthaya Period, when Lan Na was made a vassal from Burma, also Lampang came under Burmese influence for nearly two hundred years. The city was under Burmese rule from 1614 to 1732, but afterward the area was still affected by the ongoing wars and uproars between Lan Na and the Burmese until the North was completely liberated with the re-establishment of Chiang Mai in 1796. During this period Lampang's architecture was very much influenced by that of Burma, as can still be seen today, e.g. in Wat Sri Chum, Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao, etc. In 1732, Pho Chao Thip Chang (พ่อเจ้าทิพย์ช้าง - ‘Celestial Father Lord of the Elephant’), a local mahout and leader from the house of Thipchakratiwong, who lived in Ban Pok Yahng Khok (บ้านปกยางคก) in the present-day amphur Hang Chat, just northwest of the city of Lampang and up to present a dwelling for mahouts and elephants, organized an uprising against Burmese rule and finally expelled the foreign occupiers, the first city in Lan Na to accomplish so in that period. After the victory, he was called upon to become the new ruler of Lampang and was given the honorary name and title Phaya Sulawareuhchai Songkram (สุละวะฤๅไชยสงคราม). His descendants include Chao Kawila, a celebrated ruler of Lampang and Chiang Mai and the first king of Lan Na under Siamese rule. The city is also known as ‘meuang rot mah’, the city of horse carts (map1, map2 - fig.). Among its places of interest are Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao and Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang (fig.). The region is known for its teak industry and the district Hang Chat has a training centre for young elephants. On national road number one stands a giant kilometer marker (map - fig.). The province has thirteen amphur. See also Lampang data file.