Emblem of Thailand

 Lynn Atchison Beech
Emblem of Thailand

The national emblem of Thailand (Thai: ตราแผ่นดินของไทย) is called the Phra Khrut Pha (RTGS transcription; พระครุฑพ่าห์; "Garuda as the vehicle" (of Vishnu)). The Garuda was officially adopted as the national emblem by King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) in 1911. However the mythical creature had been used as a symbol of royalty in Thailand for centuries. The Garuda is depicted on seals, which are used by the King of Thailand and the Government of Thailand to authenticate official documents and as its primary emblem.

The Garuda is a mythological beast of the Hindu and Buddhist tradition. According to mythology the Garuda is the vahana (vehicle) of the god Vishnu (more commonly known in Thailand as Narayana). The ancient kings of Thailand believed in divine kingship, and considered themselves the incarnation of the god Narayana. Thus the Garuda came to symbolize the divine power and authority of the king.

The Garuda also features in the National Emblem of Indonesia and the city of Ulan Bator (the capital of Mongolia).

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