Photo Essays | Diplomacy | South Asia | Southeast Asia

Namaste Thailand

India and Thailand share deep-rooted ties.

By Arenla Jamir for
Namaste Thailand

The audience enjoys music from Asia 7 at the Namaste Thailand festival in New Delhi.

Credit: Arenla Jamir
Namaste Thailand

Exhibitors from Thailand had their products displayed in these tents.

Credit: Arenla Jamir
Namaste Thailand

Thailand’s most famous umbrellas, handmade from mulberry bark (sa), brought all the way from Chiang Mai, northern part of Thailand.

Credit: Arenla Jamir
Namaste Thailand

A Thai woman displays the meticulous art of food carving, a significant aspect of Thailand’s historical richness in art and crafts.

Credit: Arenla Jamir
Namaste Thailand

Children getting their hands painted by artists from Chiang Mai at the workshop area.

Credit: Arenla Jamir
Namaste Thailand

Delhi’s Thai High and Radisson Blue’s Neung Roi restaurants served sumptuous spreads of authentic Thai cuisine.

Credit: Jentilemla Amer
Namaste Thailand

Visitors receiving complementary Thai shoulder massages.

Credit: Arenla Jamir
Namaste Thailand

Asia 7, a group of eight musicians from the College of Music, Mahidol University, enthralled the festival with their renditions of Thai, folk, jazz, pop, and western fusion.

Credit: Asia 7
Namaste Thailand

Cooking demonstration of Pad Thai (Thai-style stir fried noodles), Tom Yam Kung (Thai hot and sour soup), Som Tum (Thai Papaya Salad), Kaeng Kiew Wan (Sweet Green Curry) by H.E. Mr Chutintorn Gongsakdi, Ambassador of Thailand to India.

Credit: Arenla Jamir
Namaste Thailand

Thai music popularly uses this percussion instrument with 21 wooden bars, called the Ranat.

Credit: Jentilemla Amer
Namaste Thailand

The mask of Hanuman, the mythical White Monkey in Thai’s classical epic, Ramakien. The dancer is getting ready to perform the masked dance Khon Ramakien

Credit: Jentilemla Amer
Namaste Thailand

Handmade rose flowers, garlands, gift bags, and home décor, all made from mulberry paper, exhibited by MakeMeFromPaper during the festival.

Credit: Arenla Jamir
Namaste Thailand

Cock fighting, also known as fighting rooster dance, is a popular dance routine where two people dressed up as roosters pretend to fight each other.

Credit: Arenla Jamir
Namaste Thailand

Dancers from the Academy of Dramatic Arts, Nakhon Si Thammarat Nakhon Sri Thammarat, perform.

Credit: Arenla Jamir
Namaste Thailand

Children admiring the decorated paintings on mini fans by artists from Thailand.

Credit: Arenla Jamir

The India-Thailand relationship has been shaped by centuries of deep-rooted historical and cultural connections. Located within close proximity of each other’s extended neighborhood, there have been extensive people-to-people contacts and a long history of a bilateral diplomatic relationship, which has now evolved into a comprehensive partnership.

Over half of the Thai language has roots in the Sanskrit and Pali languages, which originated in India. Buddhism, which flourished and spread under King Ashoka of the Maurya Dynasty, has now become the official religion of Thailand. Drawing inspiration from Indian arts and legends, the influence of Hinduism is also apparent in Thai religious practices, art, architecture, music, drama, and literature. The Hindu epic Ramayana has greatly influenced the Thai lore of Ramakien, from which the classical dances of Khon and Lakhon derived their inspiration. The Thai festivals of Songkran and Loy Krathong are enthused by the Indian festivals of Holi and Diwali.

In the recent past, India’s Act East policy has complemented Thailand’s Look West policy, which has greatly helped in bringing the two countries closer economically, politically, and culturally. Both countries are undergoing all inclusive reforms. India’s “Make in India” is pursuing sustainable and broad-based economic growth, while Thailand’s 4.0 economic model is transforming the economy into an innovation driven one, targeting the sufficiency economy philosophy to achieve sustainable development goals. To maintain security, prosperity, and stability in the region, and to link South and Southeast Asia, both countries cooperate in regional integration processes like the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), East Asia Summit, Asia Cooperation Dialogue, and Indian Ocean Rim Association.

The relationship was on display during the three-day long Namaste Thailand Festival, from March 9 to 11 in New Delhi. It provided an opportune moment to witness the culture of Thailand, in all its manifestation, in the capital city of India.

Arenla Jamir is an independent researcher based in New Delhi.