To Gel Hongkong means ‘the Great Mountain Dragon’ or ‘centre of the Earth’. It is also known as Beberapa (or Big Bea) or Pahao Engka (or Earth Dragon). The name To Gel Hongkong is very significant as it symbolizes the connection between earth and heavens. It is located in the Southern most point of Thailand – in the province of Chiang Mai. The meaning of To Gel Hongkong cannot be understood without understanding the relationship between the earth, the heavens and the human realm.
When translated, the name To Gel Hongkong literally means ‘The Great Mountain Dragon’. It can also mean ‘Heavenly Mountain Dragon’. However, it is more commonly known as simply ‘Togel Hao Karet’ or ‘Centre of the Earth’. There are many references in Thai literature to the Dragon being a powerful being having supernatural powers. In addition, the term model hongkong has various other meanings in Thailand.
According to legend, The God of Thunder visited the kingdom of Sokcho in Southern Thailand once. Upon his arrival, he was identified as a blue-throated Dragon. He performed many miracles such as curing sickness, attracting birds and animals, destroying fire, turning mud into gold, making the sky blue, etc. Some historians believe that to gel hongkong means ‘heavenly mountain dragon’, while others prefer to refer to it as ‘the centre of the earth’. A variation of the name is ‘togel karet’, ‘togel hoi’ and ‘togel noi’.
The god of thunder often manifested himself in the form of a great white tiger, hence the origin of the phrase’sati bangkran gis’, or ‘eighteen satu’. Another tale says that when the princess of Koh Samui was about to be married to the chief Siamese, a snake approached her and offered to give her eight satun (lit. ; eight white grains) as dowry. She refused and the snake vanished into thin air, but not before giving her a juga merupakan, or ‘white lotus flower’.
The word ‘satun’ in Thailand can mean ‘beautiful woman’, or ‘girl’. In many places in northern Thailand, especially along the east coast, the term ‘bulin’ means a slender girl. In the rural areas however, the term ‘baan’ means a boy. Therefore, the term ‘baan bini’ or ‘boy’s bath’ is used to describe a boy’s bath, or bani, in rural areas. In more southern regions, where ‘baan bini’ is used to describe a junior school, the term is used to describe the showers in private residences.
The origins of the name Togelhong are shrouded in uncertainty, but it appears to come from either ‘togelhong’ or ‘tugelhong’ – two Thai words which roughly translate to ‘white lotus flower’. Some say Togelhong is named after a royal family who lived in Nathon, a large town on the Gulf of Thailand. Some say Togelhong is named after the peninsular district of Thon Buri, the old capital of the Sukothai. Whatever the origin, the beautiful lotus blossom was called in Thai, ‘Togelhong Ben’.