The highly anticipated International Ramayana Festival, also known as the Khon Krungsri, is set to return triumphantly to the culturally rich and historically significant city of Ayutthaya.
The organizers have scheduled the eagerly awaited event from 30th March to 3rd April, offering visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Ramayana’s vibrant and captivating world.
The outdoor venue at the ancient temple of Wat Mahathat takes centre stage. The performance will include Khon Masked Dance, sword fights, and Ramlila from India, to name a few. Admission is free and performances run from 6pm to 9pm.
About the International Ramayana Festival
The Ayodhya Ramayana procession will take place on the streets of Ayutthaya on the 1st of April, 2023. As the procession enlivens the streets with its grandeur, the stunning Woranut Bhiromhakdi, renowned for her captivating on-screen presence, shall grace the event as Sita.
The event includes a Khon Masked Dance performance among the myriad theatrical renditions of Rama’s saga. The acclaimed masterpiece portrays Rama’s triumphs with unparalleled depiction. In 2018, UNESCO included this enthralling art form in the Representative List of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.
“We haven’t organised the Khon or Ramayana procession in a century, and the Ayodhya Ramayana procession will be the largest of its kind in 130 years,” said Surat Jongda, deputy director of Bunditpatanasilpa Institute. He also added, “We took inspiration from King Rama V and King Rama VII’s white elephant processions, so expect the most elaborate and spectacular parade from Ayutthaya’s streets into the heart of the ancient city.”
The Tale of Ramakien
For centuries, a cultural connection has bound India and Thailand together. The two nations mutually influence each other in various domains, including religion, art, architecture, and more.
Ramayana, Valmiki’s magnum opus, traversed through the ancient maritime trade routes and arrived at the shores of Thailand. Here it was lovingly embraced and adapted into the Thai Ramayana or Ramakien.
However, the destruction of Ayutthaya in 1767 dealt a devastating blow to the archaic Ramayana version. But soon, efforts to restore Ramayana began, and by the 18th century, Thailand recognised the Ramakien as its national epic.
The epic is a towering testament to the indomitable human spirit, and its teachings find relevance even today.