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The Surin Elephant Round-up is held every year 431 km east-northeast of Bangkok. The 2-day festival is usually in November and commemorates royal hunts conducted in the area when the beasts were captured and coralled; the hunts had ritual and mythological aspects as well as economic ones. The Kuy (known as the "Montagnards" in Vietnam) residents of the area have long been known as mahouts. Eventually the hunts were converted into a public spectacle, and most of the ritualistic elements disappeared; over time they became progressively staged and were halted in 1938 until their revival in 1962. The climax of the affair is a re-enactment of a historical battle between Siamese and Burmese forces. During the Mon kingdom of Dvaravati period (6th-13th centuries) the inhabitants adapted Buddhism, but king Suryavarman II invaded early in the 12th century, and Surin became an important part of the Khmer empire. In the 18th century Chiangpum presented a rare white elephant to the future Rama I, who presented the Kuay leader the title Luang Surin Phakdi and later promoted him to governor. In 1786 Muang Prathai Saman was renamed Surin in honor of the governor. The Sanskrit "sura" means God and "-in(thara)" means Indra.
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