Sunday, March 15, 2015

Phra Tamnak Doi Tung - Doi Tung Royal Villa

The Royal Villa at Doi Tung was the residence of Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra, the Princess Mother. The villa was built in 1987 and constructed under Her Majesty's supervision to incorporate architectural elements from Switzerland (where Her Royal Highness lived for many years) and from Lanna culture.

When the villa was first proposed the Royal Forest Department planned to give the land that it was to be constructed on as a gift to Her Royal Highness. However, Her Majesty declined the kind offer, stating that as no other Thai could own property in a forest preserve then neither should she. Her Majesty had chosen to build a villa in the area so that she could have a base for her work on the Doi Tung Development Project – a project that works to sustain the lives of local people and the forest in the area. The Royal Villa is therefore not owned, but leased, under a 30 year term – that being the length of the Doi Tung Development Project.

The villa was very much thought as 'home' by Her Majesty. Indeed on the Royal entrance there is an English saying written in Thai which translates as 'A house is built of brick and stone, a home is built of love alone – Home sweet home.' The exterior of the villa was decorated with reclaimed teak wood, while the interior is paneled with recycled pine wood that came from shipping crates. The highlight of the Royal Villa is on the ceiling of the main hall. Designed by the Astronomy Society of Thailand, the handcrafted wood inlay is dotted with tiny lights representing the position of the constellations on October 21, 1900, the day the Princess Mother was born.

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