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Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Nine interesting facts about the October funeral of Thailand's late King Bhumibol Adulyadej

King Bhumibol, 88, died on October 13, 2016. The country has been in an official year of mourning since

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 October, 2017, 2:19pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 October, 2017, 5:11pm

The funeral of Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was known as Rama IX, will take place over five days in October with hundreds of thousands of mourners expected to attend.

For many Thais it will be their first experience of a royal funeral of a monarch. King Bhumibol ruled Thailand for more than seven decades and was widely regarded as the nation’s moral compass during decades of on-off political unrest.

King Bhumibol, 88, died on October 13, 2016. The country has been in an official year of mourning since then with many Thais choosing to wear black.

Thai Buddhists often wait a week or more before cremating their dead but royal funerals are exceptional.

Below are details of the royal cremation.

The royal cremation ceremony will last from October 25-29, with the actual cremation day October 26, which has been declared a public holiday.

A quarter of a million people are expected to attend the cremation, according to the government.

The site of the royal funeral ceremony includes eight structures meant to symbolise mountains – ancient Thai beliefs say these structures are the edge of the universe.

One of the eight structures, Mount Meru, represents the abode of the gods in Hindu tradition. The structures will be decorated with ornaments of various gods and goddesses.

Seven different types of sandalwood flowers will be used in the cremation as ancient Thais believed that the sandalwood fragrance will lead the soul of the deceased to heaven.

There will be a series of ceremonies and processions transferring the urn and relics to and from the crematorium.

For those unable to attend the king’s funeral, there will be 85 miniature replicas of the royal cremation site throughout the country.

A total of 11.9 million Thais have paid their respects to the late king at the Grand Palace in Bangkok since last October, the palace said.

The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha are now closed to visitors and will be off limits to tourists until October 30. Thailand’s tourism body has said other tourist attractions across Thailand will remain open as usual.