Upon his return from Europe in 1897, King Rama V (1868-1910) used his personal money to purchase orchards and paddy fields between Padung Krungkasem Canal and Samsen Canal for the construction of a royal garden which he named “ the Dusit Garden “
The first permanent residence in Dusit Garden was Vimanmek Mansion, built in 1900 by royal command of King Rama V. The King had the Munthaturattanaroj Residence in Chuthathujrachathan at Koh Sri Chang, Chonburi, dismantled and rebuilt in the Dusit Garden under the supervision of HRH Prince Narissaranuwaddhiwongse. The celebration for the completion of Vimanmek Mansion was held on March 27,1901.King Rama V then moved his residence from the Grand Palace to stay permanently at Vimanmek Mansion for five years unil the completion of Amporn Satan Residence in 1906 where he live until his death in 1910. Vimanmek Mansion was than closed down and members of the royal family moved back to the Grand Palace.
Near the end of his reign, King Rama VI (1910-1925) gave permission to Her Majesty Indharasaksaji to stay at Vimanmek Mansion. After the King’s death, she moved to stay another residence in Suan Hong compound north of Vimanmek Mansion and the Mansion was closed.
King Rama VII (1925-1934) renovated the Mansion several times. For example, he ordered the installation of new eletrical wires and the repair of columns of the main pier at the artificial lake in the garden. But starting in 1932, Vimanmek Mansion was used only as a storage of the Bureau of the Royal Household.
In 1982, on the auspicious occasion of the Bicentennial Anniversary of Bangkok, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, who had discovered that Vimanmek Mansion, with its elaborate architectural style was still intact, asked permission of His Majesty King Rama IX to renovate the mansion for use as a museum to commemorate King Rama V by displaying his photographs, personal art and handicrafts, and to serve as a showcase of the Thai national heritage for future generations.
Vimanmek Mansion is the world’s largest golden teakwood mansion with its elaborate architectural style reflecting a western influence. The building has two right-angled wings, each wing is 60 meters long and 20 meters high, and is three-storied except for the part where King Rama V resided, which is octagonal and four-storied. Although the ground floor is brick and cement,the upper floors are built of beautiful golden teakwood. Altogether there are 31 exhibition rooms, with the bedrooms, the throne room and bathrooms maintaining the atmosphere of the Thai past. Some display house exhibitions of Thai art including silverware, ceramics,crystal ware, and ivory.
Besides Vimanmek Mansion and Amporn Satarn Residence in the compound of Dusit Garden( or Dusit Palace as it was later renamed by King Rama VI), King Rama V allocated plots of land for the construction of residences for his consort, princesses, and other wives.
He also named gardens, canals, gates and roads after the ancient Chinese ceramics ( commonly called “ Khrueng kim tung” ), which were very popular at the time. Thus, the residence that belonged to H.M. Queen Savang Vadhana, was named Suen Hong Residence (Swan Garden Residence). The residences in Dusit Palace compound have been turned into exhibition buildings and a hall for royal coaches on show to the public.
VIMANMEK MANSIONRATCHAWITHI ROAD, DUSIT, BANGKOK 10300 THAILAND
TEL. +66 2 628 6300 Ext. 5120-5121
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