The statue was unveiled on the southeast corner of the grounds of Wat Wichit Sangkharam on Narisorn Rd.
“I am so honoured to preside over a traditional ceremony to show respect to our great Phuket Town father,” said Governor Phakaphong.
Work on the statue began on Nov 23 with a ceremony to mark the laying of the foundation stone for the statue. (See story here.)
Wat Wichit Sangkharam was chosen as the site as the temple was built by order of Phraya Wichit Songkhram some 170 years ago, when Phuket Town was first being developed under his guiding hand.
The statue was built at a cost of B8.7 million, comprising B7.5mn for the statue and B1.2mn for the base and surrounding area.
The statue was created by renowned Thai artist Sunti Pichetchaiyakul, who is best known for creating the sculpture of King Rama 9, Bhumibol Adulyadej, at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States, where King Bhumibol was born.
The statue in Phuket Town was created from a photo of Phraya Wichit Songkhram taken in 1849, with Phraya Wichit Songkhram in a seated position.
The creation and installation of the statue of Phraya Wichit Songkhram was decided on by Phuket City Municipality and local residents wanting to honour the historic Phuket governor so that children and other people would learn about his achievements and to promote Phuket Town’s historical past as a form of tourism attraction, Phuket City Mayor Somjai explained last year in announcing that the statue was being created.
“It is also a good example of strengthening the love and unity of the Phuket people and showing gratitude to the ancestors who created pride in being Phuket people,” she said. (See story here.)
Phraya Wichit Songkhram is also known as Thad Rattanadilok Na Phuket, an esteemed family name that lives in Phuket and the surrounding provinces.
He was the son of the former Governor of Phuket “Phra Phu Ket (Kaew)”.
Both are honoured by the main roads Wichit Songkram Rd and Phra Phuket Kaew Rd, which link Phuket Town with the Kathu valley, which was once the heartland of tin mines in Phuket.
Phraya Wichit Songkhram’s name in full was Phraya Wichitsongkram Ramrithidet Lohasetrak Phithak Siamrat Simatayanuchitpiphakdi Phiriyapichit Jangwang, also given the common nickname “Wiset”.
Also known as Thad Rattanadilok Na Phuket and Phraya Phu Ket Lohasetrak, Phraya Wichit Songkhram was the descendant of Rattanadilok Na Phuket family.
He served as Governor of Phuket Town from the late reign of King Rama III until the early reign of King Rama V.
After his father passed away, Phraya Wichit Songkhram was nominated as the Governor of Phuket and bestowed the title “Phra Phu Ket (Thad)”.