Uttaradit & The Strong Sword.

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    #1 DavidFL, Jun 22, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
    My usual route to Dan Sai / Loei is from Uttaradit go via Chat Trakarn - Nakhon Thai - Dan Sai. It cuts off about 80 kms rather than going via "Phitluk" & route 12 & is a nice technical road in several sections for a great ride.

    Now around Uttaradit I've always see the signs for the Bo Lek Nam Phi mine, a historical tourist attraction but never bothered to check the place out, and I should one of these days.

    As luck would have it, riding from Chiang Khong to go to Dan Sai for the 2018 Phi Ta Khon festival, I got away late (1PM) from Chiang Khong and ended up in Uttaradit for the night. It was a quietish night in Uttaradit, but the town certainly is sprawling, bustling & deserves more exploration. As the next day was a lazy slow ride to Dan Sai I googled for some Uttaradit attractions and the old Bo Lek Nam Phi comes up trumps again.

    So the story goes....once upon a time in the wars between Siam & Myanmar there was a battle where Phraya Phichai, the then ruler of the town of Phichai south of Uttaradit, was fighting against the Burmese. Phraya Phichai broke his sword in the battle, but continued fighting & eventually defeated the Burmese using the broken sword! The steel for that sword came from iron at Bo Lek Nam Phi east of Uttaradit. History tells us that iron from this ancient mine has special supernatural properties and has been used for the swords of kings for centuries.

    To honour Phraya Phichai in his victory fight against the Burmese there is a monument to him outside the government offices downtown Uttaradit.
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    Next door is also a museum with a massive Bo Lek Nam Phi sword.
    The sword is 9.24 meters long and weighs 450 kilograms. It is the world’s largest sword made with Nam Phi steel, and is a true beauty, embedded with mother-of-pearl designs and girdled with incised silver. Impressive it really is. Check it out sometime.

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    There is some more detailed history on the construction of this sword, made for the Queen's 60th Birthday, on the wall of the museum, but sadly it did not photograph at all.

    The google maps location
    Google Maps

    Such is the fame of Bo Lek Nam Phi that people sell knives & daggers of this steel on Amazon.


    Supposedly there are two mines where they get the iron from.
    Bo Phra Saeng & Bo Phra Khan.
     
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  2. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    #2 DavidFL, Oct 14, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
    Finally success..wandering back slowly from MotoGP at Buriram I found the two pits of Bo Lek Nam Phi.

    The source of the iron for the blue steel swords used by victorious Kings.

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    and the names of the two adjoining pits
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    There's an interesting museum of sorts explaining the history of the pits & steel made thereof.
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    The entrance - fee free.
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    The info & exhibition of how it once used to be
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    The Lek Nam Phi iron has special properties that you don't normal find in "regular iron." The sign is dificult to read (& photograph) with the light shining on it, but moving your position you can read it all once you are there. Such was the strength of the steel made from this iron it was only to be used for the KIng's swords.

    The sword of King Naresuan who defeated the Burmese was made from Lek Nam Phi steel.
    The sword of King Narai the Great was made from Lek Nam Phi steel.
    Phraya Pichai (the Governor of Uttaradit), the brave general of King Taksin the Great (who declared independence from the Burmese after the second fall of Ayuddhaya), went into battle with a Namphi sword named "Nantakawut" in his left hand and an ordinary sword in his right. After his victory, the right hand sword was broken and hence the name "Daab Hak" or "Broken Sword". The Namphi sword in his left was used as a guard for protection and as a second weapon due to the steel's superb qualities?

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    The Shrine to the God of Bor Lek Nam Phi
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    Confirmation that the Lek Nam Phi swords were used by warriors for fighting - an abundance of fighting cocks around the shine.
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    There are multiple signs on the highways around Uttaradit showing the way to Bor Lek Nam Phi, but once you're off the highway, well the signage isn't that great.
    I eventually found the location coming off the junction of R1246 & R1214 coming from Chat Trakarn on the way back from the Buriram MotoGP; however the easiest way to find the "hidden spot" is probably off the junction of R11 & R1214.

    The google maps location

    Enjoy the ride & the history I did, eventually.
    Plus I got my blue steel amulet.

    The magic of Lek Nam Phi steel

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    You all take care out there now, the roads are getting busier and busier.
     
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  3. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

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    David,
    Very interesting report, thank you. That natural blue steel looks most unusual. The huge sword looks amazing, too. Good find, I'll have to check that area out sometime.
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    I missed the souvenir shop selling the "genuine article."
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    some rather nice knives.

    Check em out. They're impressive.
     

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