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Songkhla City Pillar shrine  
ศาลหลักเมืองสงขลา  
 Address:   Nang Ngam Rd., Bo Yang, Muang Songkhla นางงามถ. บ่อยางอำเภอเมืองจังหวัดสงขลา  
 Known as:   Sarn Chao Lak Muang Songkhla    
 Description:   In the past it was common in Thailand to place a “city pillar” at an auspicious date and time to bring good fortune to the inhabitants of that city. The location of this city pillar typically became a revered site. Songkhla, located in south Thailand on the Gulf of Thailand, is no exception.
Located on Nang Ngam Road in the old town area of Songkhla is the “San Chao Por Lak Muang” or City Pillar Shrine. King Rama lll bestowed the city pillar made of the Ratchpreuk tree (Cassia fistula) and it was formally placed in a ceremony held on March 10, 1842.
This shrine and its associated courtyard in front has historically been the home of numerous festivities and ceremonies and also available for everyday use. Before the advent of television in Songkhla Chinese opera was common and although the younger generation did not necessarily understand Chinese they would go the shrine in the evening with parents or grandparents and watch the opera. Occasionally Chinese opera shows are still held, usually as a way of making merit or giving thanks for good fortune.
Nowadays there are three major festivals during the year held at the shrine. In late January or February, depending on the lunar calendar, is Chinese New Year. Families give offerings to their ancestors at home then place offerings to the gods at the City Pillar Shrine. After prayers the offerings are taken home. Usually there is a lion dance and parade.
Although the actual city pillar was dedicated on March 10 the anniversary of the shrine is celebrated in late June. This is a major event in the old town of Songkhla including a parade with representations of Chinese gods and the visit by a spirit medium representing the Chao Mae Kuan Im, the Goddess of Mercy. Also Songkhla takes this opportunity to close the street to vehicular traffic so it becomes a walking street.  Residents make traditional sweets to sell. Usually the ceremonies and the walking street extend for an entire week.
Finally in late September or early October is the Harvest Moon festival. This is the time when the full moon appears largest in the night sky. This festival originated in China and it a way of giving thanks for a bountiful harvest. Similarly it is a period when offerings are given at the shrine.
Visits to the Songkhla City Pillar Shrine are not limited to these three festivals. Commonly a bride and groom of Chinese ancestry will stop at the shrine to make offerings and ask for a happy and prosperous life together. Others who have realized success or good fortune will visit and similarly people undergoing difficulties will offer prayers and seek solace. To this day the Songkhla City Pillar Shrine is very much a part of daily life.
 
 Province   Songkhla  Direction:      
 District   Mueang    
 City   Bo Yang  Comments:      Official Web:    
 Genre   Religion      Related links:    
 Best exposure   AM / PM          
 Rating            
 Opening time   08:00 to 17:00          
 Entry fee   Free     Coordinates:    7° 11.799 N  100° 35.448 E   
                     
                     
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