This entry was concurrently written in two languages, i.e. Thai and English, and indeed this is my first English post. I decided to write an English version so that foreigners who might be interested in Thai-related topics can pick up some information from this blog. To see the Thai version, please click here! (The English version is not directly translated from the Thai version)

I believe that Thai people could remember the full name of Bangkok with a few knows its true meaning. For foreigners, it might seem a little odd, not knowing any reason why we have such a long name for our capital. And do you know that the full name of Bangkok does not contain any word of Thai-origin (Tai-Kadai language family) at all? This entry will hopefully answer your question.

I will not mention much history or background of Thailand because there are many sites out there that had already explained it. It would be very easy for those who mastered the Indian civilization to understand this article, as Thailand was heavily influenced by the Brahmin and Hinduism via the Ancient Khmer Kingdom.

Buddha Yodfa (left), Jessadabodindra (center), Mongkut (right)

Though, King Buddha Yodfa (1782-1809) established the town of Bangkok (/baːŋkɔːk/) as the capital and adopted the first ceremonious name, Krung Rattanakosin In-Ayothaya (กรุงรัตนโกสินทร์อินท์อโยธยา), his grandson, King Jessadabodindra (1824-1851) would later changed it to Krung Thep Mahanakorn Bavornrattanakosin Mahintoyutthaya (กรุงเทพมหานคร บวรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทอยุธยา). His successor, King Mongkut (1851-1868), would later revised the name which stands until today. That is ...

"Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphiman-Awatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit"
(Transliteration from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration website)
"กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุทธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบูรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์" as written in Thai script.
(From the official sign in front of Bangkok City Hall)

FYI, Spoken Thai oftentimes does not correspond with the written form, since we keep the roots of the word via writing but drop those hard-to-pronounce alphabets when speaking. A simple example would be words that are placed with -์ (karan OR thanthakat on a dash; a dash represents any letter) >> รมย์ ( = r , = m , = y) is read "romya" but after ย (y) being placed on top with karan, it is read as "rom", omitting the ya sound definitely.
Thai script
Written form (transliteration while keeping the roots)
Spoken form (official transliteration) 
กรุงเทพมหานคร (Krungdhebmahanagara/Krungthepmahanakhon)
กรุง (krung)
Old Khmer: កុរុង​​​​ (kurung) chief, lord, king, rule 
Khmer: ក្រុង​ (krung) city, cover, defend, protect 
Thai uses as capital, city, metropolis, state, country

เทพ (dheb/thep)
Pali: deva 
Sanskrit: देव (dēva) god, deity, king, etc.
Thai-Pali/Sankrit rule: the consonant v can be replaced by p (ph), and vice versa, without changing its meaning. Thus, dēvadepha (usually written as dheb; Thai reads as thep)
มหา (maha)
Pali: mahanta
Sanskritमहन् (mahan), महान्त (mahānta), महत् (mahat) great, large, extensive
Often used when combining with other words, usually shortened to maha or mahā
นคร (nagara/nakhon)
Pali: nagara
Sanskrit: नगर (nagara) town, city, capital, metropolis
Thai reads as nakhon
Therefore, Krung Thep Mahanakhon means The Great City of Angel

อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ (Amararatnakosindra/Amonrattanakosin)

อมร (amara/amon)
Pali: amara
Sanskrit: अमर (amara) immortal, deity, the residence of Indra
Thai reads as amon
รัตน (ratna/rattana)
Pali: ratana 
Sanskrit: रत्न (ratna) jewel, gem, precious stone, crystal
Thai reads as rattana
โกสินทร์ (kosindra/kosin)
Pali: kosiya; alternative name for Śakra (or Sakka), i.e. Indra
Pali: inda
Sanskrit: इन्द्र (indra) Indra
Combine kosiya with indra, gives Kosindra, still means Indra
Thai reads as kosin or kosinthon
Amonrattanakosin have two possible meanings; they are
I) Residence/Palace of Indra's crystal (i.e. the Emerald Buddha) = the Place that house the Emerald Buddha
 II) Eternal jewel of Indra

มหินทรายุทธยา (Mahindrayudhya/Mahintharayutthaya)
มหินทร์ (mahindra/mahin)
Pali: mahanta
Sanskrit: महन् (mahan), महान्त (mahānta), महत् (mahat) great, large, extensive
Often used as a prefix, usually shortened to maha or mahā 
Pali: inda
Sanskrit: इन्द्र (indra) Indra
Combine maha with indra, gives mahindra, means the Great Indra
Thai reads as mahin
อยุธยา (ayudhya/ayutthaya)
an ancient city, Ayodhya, from the ancient Sanskrit scripture and epic of Rāmāyaṇa (or Ramakien in Thai version) it was the birthplace and the throne of Rama (the Reincarnation of God Indra). The word is derived from ...
Pali: a
Sanskrit: अ (a) a prefix, denotes negativity (similar to 'un' in English)
Pali: yujjhati
Sanskrit: युद्ध (yuddha) war, wage war against
Combine(a) with युद्ध (yuddha) or yujjhati, gives अयोध्य (ayodhya) in Sanskrit or Ayojjhā in Pali.
Both means - not to be fought against, unconquerable
Thai uses it as Ayutthaya

Combine mahindra (mahin) with ayudhya (ayutthaya), gives Mahintharayutthaya meaning the impregnable city of Indra.

มหาดิลกภพ (Mahatilakabhop/Mahadilokphop)
มหา (maha)
Pali: mahanta
Sanskrit: महन् (mahan), महान्त (mahānta), महत् (mahat) great, large, extensive
Often used as a prefix, usually shortened to maha or mahā
ดิลก (tilaka/dilok)
Pali: tilakā
Sanskrit: तिलक (tilaka) mole, mark upon the forehead
Thai uses as excellent, top, great, magnificent
Thai reads as dilok
ภพ (bhob/phop)
Pali: bhava
Sanskrit: भव (bhava) world, realm, land, condition
the aforementioned Thai-Pali/Sanskrit rule, i.e. v and p (ph) are interchangeable. Therefore, bhavabhapa (Usually written as bhob; Thai read as phop)
Combine maha, tilaka (dilok) and bhob (phop), gives Mahadilokphop meaning a great land/a magnificent land

นพรัตนราชธานีบูรีรมย์ (Naparatnarajadhanipuriramya/Noppharatratchathaniburirom)
นพ (naba/nop)
Pali: nava
Sanskrit: नव (nava) nine
v and p (ph) are replaceable, so navanapa (Usually written as nob; Thai read as nop or noppha)
รัตน (ratna/rattana)
Pali: ratana
Sanskrit: रत्न (ratna) jewel, gem, precious stone, crystal
Thai reads as rattana
ราช (raja/ratcha)
Pali: rāja
Sanskrit: राज (rāja) king, raj
Thai reads as ratcha
ธานี (dhani/thani)
Pali: dhanī
Sanskrit: धानी (dhānī) town, housing
Thai reads as thani
บูรี (puri/buri)
Pali: pura
Sanskrit: पुर (pura) town
Thai uses as buri
รมย์ (ramya/rom)
Pali: ramma
Sanskrit: रम्य (ramya) pleasant
Thai reads as rom
 Combine nava (nop/noppha) + ratna = nine precious gems (traditionally considered to be ornaments for the king, comprised of diamond, ruby, emerald, yellow sapphire, garmet, blue sapphire, moonstone and red zircon)
raja (ratcha) + dhani (thani) = king's town, capital
pura (buri) + ramya (rom) = a pleasant town.
Therefore Noppharatratchathaniburirom means a pleasant capital with nine precious gems

อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน (Uttamarajanivesanamahasthana/Udomratchaniwetmahasathan)
อุดม (uttama/udom)
Pali: uttama
Sanskrit: उत्तमा (uttamā) greatest, highest, abundant
Thai reads as udom
ราช (raja/ratcha)
Pali: rāja
Sanskrit: राज (rāja) king, raj
Thai reads as ratcha
นิเวศน์ (nivesana/niwet)
Pali: nivesana
Sanskrit: निवेशन (nivēśana) settlement, abode, house
Thai reads as niwet
มหา (maha)
Pali: mahanta
Sanskrit: महन् (mahan), महान्त (mahānta), महत् (mahat) great, large, extensive
Often used as a prefix, usually shortened to maha or mahā
สถาน (sthana/sathan)
Pali: ṭhāna
Sanskrit: स्थान (sthāna) act of standing, venue
Thai reads as sathan
Combine uttama (udom) + rāja (ratcha) + nivēśana (niwet) + sthāna (sathan), makes Udomratchaniwetmahasathan, which means abounding in an enormous palace or place that the great king resides.

อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต (Amarapimana-avatara/Amonphiman-awatansathit)
อมร (amara/amon)
Pali: amara
Sanskrit: अमर (amara) immortal, deity, the residence of Indra
Thai reads as amon
พิมาน (bimana/phiman)
Pali: vimana
Sanskrit: विमान (vimana) mansion, heavenly place
v and p (ph) are replaceable, so vimanapimana
Thai reads as phiman
อวตาร (avatara/awatan)
Pali: avatāra
Sanskrit: अवतार (avatāra) reincarnation, rebirth
Thai reads as awatan
สถิต (sthita/sathit)
Pali: ṭhiti
Sanskrit: स्थित (sthita) remaining in any state, staying, established
Thai reads as sathit
Combine amara (amon) + vimana (phiman) + avatara (awatan) + sthita (sathit), gives Amonphiman-awatansathit which means the heavenly abode that the reincarnation God resides. (Traditionally, the King is believed to be the reincarnated God, descended from the heaven.)

สักกะทัตติยวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์ (Sakkadattiyavishnukarmaprasiddh/Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit)
สักกะ (sakka)
Pali: sakka
Sanskrit: शक्र (śakra) another name for the God Indra
ทัตติย (dattiya/thattiya)
Pali: dattiya; given by
Sanskrit: दत्ति (datti) gift, दत्तेय (dattēya) Indra
Thai reads as thattiya
วิษณุกรรม (vishnukarma/witsanukam)
Pali: vāsudeva
Sanskrit: विष्णु (viṣṇu), विश्वकर्मा (viśvakarmā) Vishnu
Thai uses as Witsanukam or Witsanu or Phra Witsanu
ประสิทธิ์ (prasiddh/prasit)
Pali: pasiddhi
Sanskrit: प्रसिद्धि (prasiddhi) success, attainment
Thai reads as prasit
Combine sakka + dattiya (thattiya) + vishnu (witsanukam) + prasiddhi (prasit), meaning given by Indra and built by Vishnu or ordered by Indra and built by Vishnu.

To conclude, join these words together and they give: 
"The Great City of Angel that houses the Emerald Buddha. The impregnable city of Indra, the grand, magnificent and pleasant capital with nine precious gems. Abounding in an enormous palace where the reincarnated God resides, given by Indra and built by Vishnu."

Hope you enjoy this entry. Any comments are welcome :)




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#1 By (| on 2014-10-31 17:22

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