The House of the Raja: Splendour and Desolation in Thailand's Deep South
In deepest Southern Thailand, bordering Malaysia, is the rarely visited province of Narathiwat, home of ongoing conflict between Thailand and Muslim separatists. Once part of the Islamic Sultanate, this area was only integrated into Siam following the Anglo- Siam treaty of 1909. On a photographic expedition for a magazine article, locals led the acclaimed Spanish photographer (now resident in Asia) Xavier Comas to a huge rambling structure that had once been, he was told, the magnificent palace of Tengu Shamsuddin the Raja of Legeh. Now inhabited by a shaman, who invited the photographer to stay, and local characters including an archaeologist, research student and a collector, the magical lost Palace of the Rajah of Legeh slowly revealed herself and seemed to encapsulate the shadows, splendour and desolation of this historic but conflicted region.