Queen Suriyothai was the wife of King Maha Chakraphat of Ayutthaya whose reign lasted from 1549 to 1569. King Maha Chakraphat was said to have so many white elephants that he was nicknamed the King of the White Elephant. According to Brahmanic beliefs, if a monarch had one or more white elephants, it was glorious and happy sign of his / her reign.
Hardly six months after ascending to the throne, King Maha Chakraphat was put to test by the king of Burma. King Tabengshweti wanted to test King Maha Chakraphat’s courage and exact revenge on Siam. King Maha Chakraphat prepared himself for the war as he considered it to be an insult to his honour.
Queen Suriyothai dressed herself as a man and accompanied her husband to the battle front on an elephant. The two kings fought each other. During the fight, King Maha Chakraphat was in danger and Queen Suriyothai seeing this, tried to rescue her husband by driving her elephant in between and in the bargain was cut from shoulder to hip. The Burmese king on realizing that he had killed a woman was ashamed of himself and immediately withdrew from the battle.
Ever since, Queen Suriyothai has been regarded as the greatest heroines of Thai history. She has been revered for her bravery, love and devotion towards her husband. She was the first queen to have gone onto the battle field. Her ashes are enshrined within the Sri Suriyothai pagoda at Suan Luang Sobsawan Temple in Ayutthaya province of Thailand.