The Mon were one of the earliest races to settle in Thailand. Originally from Southwest China they migrated South, to Upper Burma, then to be pushed South by the Tibeto Burman races who also moved South down the Irrawaddy Valley in Burma, finally to settle in Pegu and Thaton. They also moved South in Thailand to the Ping Valley in North Thailand and the Chao Phraya Basin in Central Thailand. Here they founded the Kingdom of Dvaravati which lasted from the 3 rd to 10 th centuries. In 769 the Mon founded the Kingdom of Haripunchai in North Thailand at the place of the modern town of Lamphun.
The Mon are members of the Mon-Khmer language group and number about 120,000. In Central Thailand they inhabit the Provinces of Kanchanaburi, Ratachburi, Phra Nakhon Si Ayuthaya and Lop Buri. Of these about 50,000 still speak Mon. These people are the descendants of the fugitives or refugees of the earlier Centuries when the Mon were repressed by the Burmans or when the Thais were at War with Burma. The original Mon in Thailand of the Dvaravati Kingdom were previously assimilated by the Khmer and later Tai Kingdoms.
The Mon became Buddhists in the 5 th century. The Mon are more superstitious than the Tai, Monks act as astrologers and advise on the supernatural. Spirit belief is important and respect is paid to spirit houses.
In Burma [ Myanmar ] the Mon are called Talaing . In Myanmar the Mon identity is being consumed by the Burmese except in the Southern Mon State. In Thailand whilst the Mon lost their identity to the Tai , the Tai adopted many cultural, social and religious features of the Mon, most importantly, the Buddhist religion which they first adopted from Ceylon in the 5 th century.
1,000 Years Of History Between The Mon Of Lop Buri, Lamphun & Myanmar
Lop Buri was at times under attack by the Khmer and at times became a vassal of the Khmer Empire. The Khmer also sought to expand North and conquer Haripunchai. These stories are documented in the ancient Chronicles.
A major war campaign took place between the Mon Kings 1010 to 1020. It started with the Lamphun Kings invasion of Lop Buri, only to be thwarted by the Khmer Kings occupation and conquest of Lop Buri on arrival from Nakhon Si Thammarat in South Thailand [ then also part of the Khmer Empire ]. In 1050 a cholera epidemic caused the Mon in Lamphun to live with other Mon in South Central Burma. Ever since relations between the Mon of both Nations have been good.
Relations between the Mon Rulers of Haripunchai [ Lumphun ] and Lop Buri were at all times subjugated by Khmer influence over the Lop Buri Mon.
Around the Town of Lumphun we can today see the moat fortifications of the then Wiangs [ fortified outposts ]. These are at Wiang Mano, Wiang Tho, Wiang Tha Kan and Wiang Kum Kan.
Mon Museum Bangkok
The Mon Museum Bangkok is in the home of a Mon village headman for Mon
people in Bangkok. The museum contains pottery, Mon musical
instruments,antique Mon jewelry [ gold ornaments ] Mon scriptures and
Buddha images in Mon style. This is a modest village style exhibition
but of interest to people interested in Mon culture and art. The museum
is located at 112 Kor Moo 9, Bangkradee Lane, Rama 11 Road Samae dum
Sub District Bangkuhunthian District Bangkok. Admission is free and it
opens 8 am to 5 pm. [ 66 2 416 1260 ]
Mon Temple Bangkok
The Mon Temple and local Mon community in Bankradee Lane off Rama 11 is in Bankunthian District Bangkok. The address of the temple is 12 Kor Moo 9. This Mon Temple was built during the reign of Rama 4. Here the standing Image and bell shaped pagoda are in classic Mon style. In the Mon community in Bangkok the Mon people still speak Mon.