King presides over royal cremation

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun on Thursday (Oct 26) presided over the royal cremation ceremony for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the royal crematorium at Sanam Luang attended by members of royal families from 16 countries and guests of distinction from various countries as well as tens of thousand of Thai people at the ceremonial ground.

The royal cremation ceremony was telecast live through various channels worldwide.

At 7am, His Majesty the King arrived at the Dusit Throne Hall in the Grand Palace.  After a religious rite performed by 30 senior monks, the royal urn was moved to the Kamphaeng Kaeo Gate of the Grand Palace.

The royal urn was carried with the Golden Palanquin with Three Poles from the Grand Palace in the first procession of honour, led by His Majesty the King and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, to in front of Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklaram Rajwaramhaviharn.

There, the Royal Urn was moved from the palanquin to the Great Victory Chariot, or Phra Maha Phichai Rajarot, which was waiting in front of  the temple.

From there, the Great Victory Chariot was hauled in the second royal procession to transfer the Royal Urn to the Royal Crematorium at Sanam Luang.

The second procession covers a length of 890 meters and took two hours to complete. A total of 2,406 troops take part in this procession.

At 12.30, the Royal Urn arrived at Sanam Luang ceremonial ground and was moved from the Great Victory Chariot to the Royal Gun-carriage for the third procession of honour. His Majesty the King and members of the royal family then led the third royal procession circumambulating three rounds counter-clockwise around the Royal Crematorium.

After encircling the crematorium for three rounds, the Royal Urn was then moved into the royal pyre.

At 5pm, His Majesty returned to the ceremonial site to preside over the symbolic royal cremation, which was attended by members of the royal families and dignitaries from various countries.

At 6pm, His Majesty the King went up the royal crematorium–amid a fanfare by guards of honour of the three armed force, nine rifle shots and a 21-gun salute.

His Majesty then allowed the supreme patriarch, senior monks, members of the Thai royal family, members of the royal families from abroad, and government representatives of other countries to pay their respects to the late King and place sandalwood flowers at the Royal Urn.

The symbolic cremation finished at around 8pm. After that His Majesty and members of the royal families had conversations with members of the royal families from abroad to send them off.

His Majesty the King returned to the royal crematorium at 10pm when a religious ceremony was held before the King performed the actual cremation for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol.

Meanwhile, festivities and performances, such as khon masked drama, puppet shows, music, and ballet, are organised at three stages in Sanam Luang ceremonial ground from 6pm to 6am of Oct 27 to pay final tribute to the late King. The festivities are also meant to mark the ending of an official mourning period.