Maha Sarakham (Thai: มหาสารคาม; also spelled Mahasarakham) is one of the provinces (changwat) of Thailand, located in the northeastern (Isan) region of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Kalasin, Roi Et, Surin, Buriram and Khon Kaen.
The province's capital is the town of Maha Sarakham. It is the home of Mahasarakham University, the largest university in the Northeast of Thailand in terms of students (37,342), and Rajabhat Mahasarakham University.
The province is mostly a plain covered with rice fields, only in the north and east are small hills. The province is between 130 and 230 m above sea level. The main river in the province is the river Chi.
Maha Sarakham was originally a satellite town of Roi Et founded in 1865. The governor of Roi Et sent 9,000 people to populate the new town, and one of his cousins as its governor. In 1868 the central government in Bangkok declared Maha Sarakham a province of its own under the supervision of Bangkok; one of the reasons was that this step weakened the power of Roi Et.
The provincial seal shows a big tree in front of big rice fields, symbolizing the richness of resources in the province.
The province's flag shows the seal in the middle, in a brown horizontal strip. Above and below is a yellow strip. The brown color symbolizes the strength and the perseverance of the people in the province, who live in the rather dry climate; the yellow color as the color of the robes of Buddhist monks symbolizes the faith of the people.
The provincial tree is the Woman's-tongue Tree (Albizia lebbeck). The tree symbol was assigned to the province in 1994 by Queen Sirikit. Provincial flower is the West Indian Jasmine (Plumeria alba).
The province is subdivided into 13 districts (amphoe). The districts are further subdivided into 133 subdistricts (tambon) and 1804 villages (muban).
|Climate data for Maha Sarakham (1961-1990)|
|Average high °C (°F)||30|
|Average low °C (°F)||16|
|Precipitation mm (inches)||2|
- Isan Cultural Centre (ศูนย์ศิลปวัฒนธรรมอีสาน): The center features history of Isan’s art, as well as handicraft such as weaving, clothes’ patterns. The center also exhibits rare item such as Isan’s literature on the fan palm’s leaves, photo regarding tradition and culture of Isan.
- Isan Tradition and Art Research Institute (สถาบันวิจัยศิลปะและวัฒนธรรมอีสาน): The institute features permanent exhibition regarding all aspects of Isan’s art and culture.
- Kaeng Loengchan (แก่งเลิงจาน): The big reservoir is situated back of Rajabhat Maha Sarakham University, some 3 km from Maha Sarakham city. Around the area is fishery station which breeds and distributes different kinds of fresh water fish to provinces in the region.
- Pottery Village (หมู่บ้านปั้นหม้อ): The villagers here inherited ancient method of pottery from their ancestor. From water pot and cooking pots, they have diversified their products into various designs to cope with modern living style.
- Ku Mahathat (กู่มหาธาตุ): Built in the 13th Century to serve as a hospital during the reign of King Chaivoraman VII, the laterite ruins was created in Bayon style in rectangular shape. With 8 m high and 4 m wide, the ruins houses two gods made from terra cotta, sitting legs crossed with conchs in hands.
- City Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อหลักเมือง): The shrine was built by Thao Mahachai, the first ruler of Maha Sarakham who has moved from Roi-Et to build new city here. The city shrine was built as a sacred icon of the city where Maha Sarakham people pay lot of respect.
- Khong Kut Wai Fish Sanctuary (อุทยานมัจฉาโขงกุดหวาย): Situated 10 km from Maha Sarakham City, the lake is home to over 100 species of freshwater fish.
- Ku Santarat (กู่สันตรัตน์): Like Ku Mahathat at Ban Khwao, it is built from rectangular laterite blocks. Standing in the rectangular wall with a pool outside, the ruins have lintels and nicely carved door arches.
- Phra That Na Dun: Buddhist Park of Isan (พระธาตุนาดูน พุทธมณฑลแห่งอีสาน): Phra That is in the area once was ancient town called Champasi. Lots of archeological artifacts are found and now kept in Khon Kaen National Museum. The most significant items found was the stupa housing relic of the Lord Buddha kept in gold, silver, and bronze boxes.
- Walai Rukhavej Botanical Research Institute (สถาบันวิจัยวลัยรุกขเวช): The institute makes research on conserving, improving, and distributing flora of the region. It has bamboo terrain, herbal garden, Isan Cart Museum, and Isan traditional house museum that features different kinds of house in Isan.
- Dun Lamphan No-hunting Area (เขตห้ามล่าสัตว์ป่าดูนลำพัน): The area features two forest types namely deciduous dipterocarp forest and peat swamp forest. The most famous endemic species found here is Mealy Crab Thaipotamon chulabhon Naiyanetr.
- Phra Yuen Mongkhon Buddha Image (พระพุทธรูปยืนมงคล): The statue from Dvaravati is a sacred icon of Maha Sarakham. Like Phra Phuttha Ming Mueang, the stature is carved from red sandstone.
- Phra Buddha Ming Mueang or Suwan Mali Buddha Image (พระพุทธมิ่งเมือง): The red sandstone Buddha image from the Dvaravati period is a sacred icon for Maha Sarakham people.
- Ban Nong Khuean Chang Handicraft Village (หมู่บ้านหัตถกรรมบ้านหนองเขื่อนช้าง): The village produces silk, cotton textiles, and other products such as scarfs, shoulder cloths, cotton shirts, and Isan style trousers.
- Ban Phaen Slender Sedge Mat (เสื่อกกบ้านแพง): For earning extra, villagers of Ban Phaen produce high quality mat from slender sedge in unique weaving pattern.
- Kosamphi Forest Park (วนอุทยานโกสัมพี): The shady park is home to different big trees such as Yang, Tabaek, and Kathum. With natural pond and scenery, this park is home to different kinds of bird, big herd of crab-eating macaque, as well as rare golden crab-eating macaque. Attractions in the park include:
- Kaeng Tat (แก่งตาด) When the river descends between November and May, shallow water allows rapids to appear. It has beautiful setting around the area.
- Lan Khoi (ลานข่อย): The terrain is occupied by toothbrush trees. Today, over 200 of them are bended into different shapes.
- Crab-eating macaque (ลิงแสม): The animals make this park their home. There are two kinds of crab-eating macaques in the park, the grey and golden macaque.
- Bueng Bon (บึงบอน): The lake packed with elephant’s ear plants is a nice place to picnic for people in Kosum Phisai and nearby.
Maha Sarakham has different kinds of local products such as silk, mat-mi cloth, khit cloth, khit pillow.
- Bun Boek Fa Fair and Red Cross Fair (งานบุญเบิกฟ้าและกาชาด): Held annually on the third lunar day of February to celebrate the early period of harvest season, the fair aims also to conserve Isan cultural heritage. There is parade to honour the goddess of rice and Baisee ceremony. Moreover, fair goers can enjoy various local performances.
- Phra That Na Dun Festival (งานนมัสการพระธาตุนาดูน): The Celebration is held annually on the full moon of February in Maka Bucha Day at Buddhist Park of Isan. The week long celebration will features Buddhism-related activities such as giving alms to the monks, vipassana practice, dhamma lecture, and the glory performance “Champasi-Natakan”.
- On Son Klong Yao Festival (งานออนซอนกลองยาวชาววาปีของดีพื้นบ้าน): The annual festival is held during March 12–16 at the field by Amphoe Wapi Pathum Office. The fair features long drum contest, float of long drum, Isan traditional performances, beauty contest, performances.
- Monkey Feeding Festival (งานบุญพาข้าวลิง): Held every April 2 at Kosamphi Forest Park, Amphoe Kosumpisai, it is festival that people can feed monkeys in Kosumpi Botanical Park.
- Rocket Festival (งานบุญบั้งไฟ): Held every May and April at the field by Amphoe Na Chuak Office, the festival organizes rocket contest and float.
- Candle Festival (งานแห่เทียนเข้าพรรษา): The festival is held at Amphoe Kosum Phisai to mark the Buddhist’s Lent. The festival features float and candle contest.
- Boat Race, Loi Kratong, and Candle Boat festival (งานประเพณีแข่งเรือยาว ลอยกระทง และล่องเรือไฟ): Held annually to mark the end of Buddhist’s Lent at Bung Bon, close to Kosum Phi Botanical Park, the festival feature boat race, Loi Kratong, and candle boat. Kratong float and cheer leader contest will be held.
Coordinates: 16°11′5″N 103°18′2″E / 16.18472°N 103.30056°E