Narai Songsuban Royal Barge of King Rama IX
The Narai Songsuban Royal Barge of King Rama IX was built on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of King Rama IX’s accession to the throne in 1996. The Royal Thai Navy, in collaboration with the Fine Arts Department, created this royal barge especially for the monarch. However, because a royal barge built in the reign of King Rama III is already named the Narai Songsuban, the one built for King Rama IX contains “of King Rama IX” in its name.
Narai Songsuban means Phra Narai or Vishnu mounting on Garuda. Suban here means Garuda or the Chief of Garuda or Birds. The vehicle of Vishnu is Garuda. Decorating the bow of this royal barge is the Engraved Vishnu on Garuda. His skin is dark. In his four hands are a discus, a conch, a scepter, and a trident. The Garuda carrying Vishnu holds two nagas up high. According to India’s Purana literature, Garuda and Naga are eternal enemies. But both serve Vishnu. As Garuda represents the power of the sky and Naga represents the power of water, the fact that Vishnu is above both Naga and Garuda means he has the power to protect the world. The bow and the body of the royal barge is engraved, lacquered, adorned with gold leaves, and decorated with glass pieces.