Banglampuh is a district that houses areas of commercial trade as well as 7 residential communities. These communities includes: the Parnthom community, the Chakrabongse mosque community, the Watmai Ammataros community, Bhaworn Rungsri community, Wat Sungwejwisayaram community, Trogkeanniwas-Trogkaijae community, and Sampraya community. The people who lived in Banglamphu had for passed down their cultural heritage and refined skills the handicrafts from generation to generation. Hence, Banglamphu has become an area full of many highly skilled craftsmen to this present day.
The beauty of a landscape that is coolly shaded by the ‘Lumphu’ tree by day and adorned with flashing fireflies by night, had people dub it the name ‘Banglamphu’ During the historical resettlement the original capital city of Thonburi to Bangkok, it was documented that around 10,000 Khmer laborers were employed to dig an enormous canal in which to expand the new capital city called Phranakorn. The canal begins from the Chao Praya River; at the front of Wat Banglamphubon (currently called Wat Sungwejwisyaram) and continued a lengthy course until it joins the Chao Praya River again near Wat Sam Pleam. This canal is later called Klong Rob Krung or the canal that surrounds the city.
From Wat Chana Songkram extending to the Phranakorn walls on the side of the Beanglamphu canal lays residential area belonging to government officials as well as the aristocrats of the ‘Wang Nha’ court(meaning ‘front of the palace’ or the 2nd King’s court). There is a small market in the middle of this area called, Talad Yod or Banglamphu Market. This is also home to officials, crafts men and women, and artists serving the aristocrats. The residents of the Banglamphu area are also a mixture of many nationalities including the Malaysian community of goldsmiths residing around Mon Rman Community living around wat Chana Songkram and the Chinese with their trades all the way from China all are residing within the district of Banglampht.
During the reign of King Rama V, Siam had steadily increased its international trade. Hence, the construction of many new roads and even small streets. Buildings began to populate the center of Phranakorn city. Canals were being filled and more roads were paved to extend their distance. People also began to move away from canals and into buildings along roadsides.
On 22nd March 1869 a fire broke out from a fermented rice noodle factory on Sibsarm hang road. The fire spread over the walls of Phranakorn burning along side it beginning from Banglamphu canal to the bridge crossing the canal. On 22nd March 1869 a fire broke out from a fermented rice noodle factory on Sibsarm hang road. The fire spread over the walls of Phranakorn burning along side it beginning from Banglamphu canal to the bridge crossing the canal. This fire has dramatically changed the face of the surrounding area. A new bridge, which has an iron arch curved over it, was built named ‘Naratnastarn Bridge’. It earned this name, because it was next to the house of Praya Nararatrachmanij (Toh Manitayakul). Some locals called it ‘Sapan Khong’ others called it ‘Pra Tu Mai’. The community and market had improved its rules and regulations. Improved comfortable transportation with city-round tram line which departs from Banglamphu near ‘Pratu Muang’ (City Gate) running along Phra sumane road to ‘Sao Chingcha’ and terminates at the foot of the Chareonsawat bridge (Phadungkrasame Canal). Locals called this tram route ‘Bang Lamphu’ Pratu Kard Talad Yod’. The convenience in commute had made Banglamphu a district bustling with people as well as a center for entertainment including Traditional Thai music house, Mae Boonak movie theater, with rivalry that is lively and fun and evolved according to the changing ear. It was then the hub of Phranakorn’s biggest entertainments. The major commercial districts had been established quite clearly since the reign of King Rama VII Yaowarat is considered the trade center of the Chinese merchants, Pahurat the trading center for the merchants from lndia, and Banglamphu the area of trade for Thai merchants.
Since Banglamphu is situated near the Royal Palace, residing around he area are palace officials, government officials as well as a variety of craftsmen. The techniques and wisdom skills of which were passed down from generations until today.
Since the beginning of the Krung Rattanakosin era, the two types of craftsman namely the Silver and Nielloware craftsman had resided together as one community at Phra sumane road, which became the Bann Parnthom community . An ancient technique passed down through generations, created by hand, a craft that requires a high level of skill, patience and the creativity to implement an exquisite elegant design; all of this had made Niellowaer a much admired housewares historically amongst the upper class society. Nowadays this admirable profession is slowly decreasing with time, leaving just the ‘Ran Kleang Tom Thai Nakorn’ a shop that is still continuing the legacy of Neillowear as exquisite arts for the upper social class.
Amongst the quiet and peaceful lays the Chakrabhongse community, the origin of ‘the goldsmiths’ who were able to skillfully handcraft exquisite ornaments from gold. Their skill in creating intricate and elegant pieces with exquisitely delicate designs has made ‘the mosque lane goldsmiths’ name well known everywhere.
The art of crafting gold was passed down through generations while at the same time advancement to technology grew; which led to a change in the way gold was made within the community. The introduction of new western technology in gold making, the speed of which the community. The introduction of new western technology in gold making, the speed of which precedes the intricacy of craftsmanship had seen a large decline in hand crafters of gold making, the speed of which precedes the intricacy of craftsmanship had seen a large decline in hand crafters of gold. Leaving behind just a tale and the name of the last goldsmith of the Chakrabhongse Mosque called ‘Pa Lek Lorprayn’ whom has made the people of Bangamphu proud.
Piercing the banana trunk is the art of carving beautiful lines onto the trunk of a banana tree using a sharp knife. It is one of the traditional arts in the category of working with fresh subjects, and is used for funeral decorations. This art originates from the ‘Mon’ people who brought it into Thailand many centuries ago. To Properly pierce patterns on the banana trunk the artist have to be well trained until they are seasoned sines carving is done without any pro seasoned since carving is done without according to the imagination of the sculptor.
Nowadays the art of banana trunk piercing has almost disappeared from Thai society and it is rarely seen. It is only at Watmai Ammataros community that this craft is still being practiced by Mr. Chuchard Dangnaewtoh a famous Ranana trunk ‘piercer’ who’s konwhow was passed down form his grandfather, together with his own practice. He has become proficient at the practice and had been crafting his work for over 30 years and has produced many beautiful pieces of work.
Towards the end of King Rama V reign, there began a community called ‘Bowon Rungesri’. Employing skills passed down the palace’s craftsman, the community began the first ever profession in the art of gold leaf making. The beautiful colors of the gold leaf are achieved through strength, concentration as well as high level of experience, the right hammer placement and consistency of the weight applied each time. Nowadays, despite a decline of the ‘gold beater’, the legacy of this skill is not totally lost as it as it is still continued on by the sons and daughters of ‘Ban Changthong’ who strive to keep this profession alive for alive for later generation to admire.
At Tanow Street within the ‘Bowon Rungsri’ community, Banglamphu district, this community has marked their identity by lining the entire streets with flags such as the Thai national flag as well as other symbolic flags during special events. The row of flags flicks and swayed to the wind beautifully ; it is no wonder why this place is dubbed the beloved of Phranakorn.
The idea started as places around the area began to turn its self into nighttime tourist attractions. This prompted locals to come together and hence decided to actively preserve their old town serenity and also to keep a street in which monks can serenely walk and receive offerings. They started by decorating an entire street with flags, an approach to spark patriotism and bind together the spirit of people within the community who are also maker of these flags by trade. Whether it is sewn stripes or made into patterns, they are all made here by the skilled craftsman within this community. Nowadays this community no longer make flags, but there is still a shop called ‘Thong wan chard’ a small flag shop that is continuing the skilled craft and still sending flags flying on the street of Bhaworn Rungsri community today.
The exquisite forefront of ‘Khon’ performers (Thai traditional theater) has a background that is strung with threads sewn into fabrics. The fabric of history is at ‘Bann Pak Chud lakorn’ of the Trogkeanniwas Trogkaijae community. With her knowledge attained from the royal palace, and experience in the government’s Faculty of Fine Aris Costume and Garment Department Mrs. Somkid Lhaotong has become a teacher of embroidery whose refined work possesses the enchanting delicate curves and designs matched to the high standards set by the Faculty of Fine Arts, Silpakorn University. Various colored threads are carefully pulled through, its strands interlacing one another with patience until it becomes an exquisite Khon costume, aimed to fortify the actor’s cye-catching splendor while on stage. Even though the tailor isn’t participate in or appear on the stage, but her deep pride in the fabric was meticulously crafted. Currently interest in making of Khon costume has lowered and there is a shortage in continuing students. Although a portion of the Trogkeanniwas-Trongkaijae community are still continuing this precious age-old profession. A profession, which may lie behind the scene of an exquisite fabric, but an art, that the artist sew, stitches and knit with the heart.
Banglamphu is an age-old district with may temples. Although there are three temples which were built prior in the Rattanakosin era becoming the capital city. These are: Wat Bowoniwet Vihara, Wat Chana Songram, and Wat Sangkwejwisayaram.
WAT BOWONNIWET VIHARA is a Royal temple of the top rank and was ranked as a ‘raja’ wara maha vihara’s meaning built by the king. It is situated on right on Bowonniwet and Prasumane road. It is the first temple in the country with monks belonging to the ‘Dhammayut’ tradition. Importantly this is the temple where a number of Kings has had a royal ordain including King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V) and also H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX). Along interesting history made this temple well kept up until present day. Newadays it holds many ancient antiques as well as artifacts, which are well preserved, valuable for studying such as ancient murals and ancient Rai Sema stone tablets.
WAT CHANA SONGKRAM RAJA WARA MAJA VIHARA Wat chana Songkram Ratchawornamahaviharn in the past is a small temple built during the Adyudhaya period. There is no documentation pertaining to its original construction, it was originally called ‘Wat Klang Na’ as it was surrounded by farmland. During the reign of King Rama I. Somdej Phra Bawornraj Chao Maha Sura Sighanat has recruited young ‘Mon’ men from several areas to form a military force to go into battle with Burma and lad allocated the area around ‘Wat Klang Na’ for the soldiers’ family to reside. Following this, he has also ordered the renovation of "Wat Klang Na” for the ‘Mon’ monks to stay during the Buddhist lent by emulating the temple name, custom and tradition from ‘Wat Tongpu’ which is a temple that the ‘Mon’ monks stayed at while in Krungsri Adyudhaya and Lophuri.
WAT SUNGWEJ WISAYARAM originally called "Wat Sarm Jeen” or "Wat Banglamphu” is situated off the bank of Banglampuh canal, in the sub district of Banglamphu, Phranakorn district. Currently it is a third-rank worawiharn royal temple at the time which King Rama I declared Bangkok as the new capital city and promoted his younger brother Somdej Phra Bawornraj Chao Maha Sura Sighanat up as "Wang Nha” or next in line to the throne. Here he accepted Wat Bandamphu as a temple under his patronage and has granted it to the Khmer concubines who wishes to enter monkhood as mums. Later, King Nangklao (King Rama III) has ordered a renovation of the temple and (King Rama IV) has bestowed a new as Wat Sungwej Wisayaram.
LATER IN THE KRUNG RATTANAKOSIN ERA, THERE WERE MORE TEMPLES BUILT WITHIN THE BANGLAMPHU AREA, WHICH ARE: WAT SAMPRAYA, WAT TRITOSATRHEP, WAT EAMWORANUJ, AND WAT MAIMAROS TO NAME A FEW.
On the April 19th the year 2000, the people of Banglamphu has received great benevolence from Somdej Prasunkaraj Skolmahasun haprinayok or the Supreme Patrach of the Buddhist monks of Thailand whom has bestowed Phra Buddha Kantaraj which contains the actual Buddha’s relic on the Buddha’s left chest and has presented the name Pha Budhha Banglamphu Prachanaj meaning ‘the protector of people of Banglamphu’.
Every Songkran festival all communities in Banglamphu will hold a grand parade by summoning Phra Buddha Banglamphu Prachanaj from Wat Bowonniwet Vihara to the Santichiprakarn garden. It is the once a year opportunity for the public to ceremonially ‘sprinkle water onto’ the Buddha and receive merits and prosperity . In the event that the Treasury Department has begun developing the surplus land at the Kurusapha printing house for the benefit of the community and society, the building has been transformed into a museum and community library. It is there that the people of Banglamphu have summoned Pha Budhha Banglamphu Prachanaj to be permanently relocated and be cherished by the community.
Driven by the community’s concern about the preservation of its diminishing cultural heritage, a group called "Prachakom Banglamphu” was formed to pursue creative development within their local area. The group emphasizes on the preservation of the community’s beautiful heritage in arts and culture. Additionally they are joined by a group of a younger generation called "Chomrom Kaesorn Lamphu” . Together had jointly redeveloped Banglampu into a pleasant to live in neighborhood and blossom into its glory day once again.
"Prachakom Banglamphu” together with "Chomrom Kaesorn Lamphu” both contributed the push in communal preservation of historical landmarks. Which resulted in the building of "Pipitbanglamphu” as well as providing much useful information that helped in the building of the museum, and through deep studies of its local history had created many events and activities. The "Prachakom Banglamphu” and the "Chomrom Kaesorn Lamphu” groups today are active in looking after their beloved "home” with the hope of protecting it and also the nation’s valuable cultural heritage for many generations to come.
Today, Banglamphu is still livelier than ever before with its colored light signage boasting numerous products to shop and buy including clothing, ornaments, and choices of food. It is also the center for tourists with good service and budget in mind at the famous Kaosarn road, because of its choice in budget hostels and an array of traveling services and entertainment nearby which keeps the area bustling all the time.
Even though time had changed many things, but it cannot take away the footprints of glory that still remains, and it is that, which attracts people from all over the world to come and experience the other side of Banglamphu and its history that is still very much alive today.