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Khon is one of six traditional dance forms that exist in Thailand. This particular style is distinct because the dancers wear masks and put on a performance that is based on Thai Ramakien Drama, which was adapted from the historic Hindu Ramayana epic tales. The famous legends have had tremendous influence on Thai culture, along with those of several other Southeast Asian countries. The masks and costumes are richly decorated and vibrant; while the performance revolves around four groups of characters: male, female, monkeys and demons. The story reflects the eternal struggle between good and evil.
In 1932, King Rama VII ordered the construction of the Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre as a gift to the people of Thailand on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Bangkok. To reinforce the king’s efforts to preserve Thai heritage: the Sala Chalermkrung Foundation, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Crown Property Bureau launched the ‘Sala Chalermkrung Khon Project’ in 2006. Through the theatre this traditional show is now open to the world. The show is accompanied by English subtitles which appear on a screen above the stage and other relevant information explaining the movements and masks which are communicated through a film that is shown before the performance.
Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.