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Surin (สุรินทร์)

Sanskrit-Thai. ‘God Indra’. Name of a province (map) in Isaan, 457 kilometers northeast of Bangkok and bordering Cambodia. Its capital city of the same name has a population of approximately 40,000 and is known for its annual elephant festival at the end of November. Surin is a compound name, in which the first syllable originates from the Sanskrit word Sura (सुर), meaning ‘god’, whereas the word In is Thai for Indra. The city, which in 1763 was moved to its present-day location when still a village, was formerly known as Meuang Prathai Saman (เมืองประทายสมันต์). After local residents, under the leadership of a man named Chiangpum (เชียงปุม) or simply Pum (ปุม), presented a White Elephant caught in the wild to the royal court in Thonburi, Chiangpum was bestowed with the royal title Luang Surin Phakdi (หลวงสุรินทร์ภักดี) and appointed village headman, and later governor under the title Phraya Surin Phakdi Sri Narong Changwang. In 1786, the city's name was changed to Meuang Surin in honour of this local ruler, who is generally regarded as the founder of Surin (fig.). The area was originally part of the ancient Khmer empire and a substantial ethnic Khmer minority remain part of present-day Surin. Besides the official Thai language, over 47% of the population still speak a northern Khmer dialect today. Local places of interest in the province include several ancient Khmer temples, mainly in the area around the Cambodian border, along with a group of three sites generally known by the name of Prasat Ta Meuan (fig.) and Prasat Hin Ban Phluang. In the city's centre, one of the places of interest is the Phraya Surin Phakdi Sri Narong Changwang Monument (map - fig.). The province has thirteen amphur and four king amphur. See also Surin data file.