The cremation of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej or Rama IX is due to take place on 26 October. The King died almost a year ago on 13 October 2016 at the age of 86, having spent seven decades on the throne and was deeply loved throughout Thailand.
It is common practice in Thailand’s Royal Family that the deceased will often remain embalmed awaiting cremation for anywhere up to a few years. This time is used to prepare the most lavish funeral possible and to build a grand crematorium.
The funeral of Rama IX is set to be held in ‘the world’s greatest crematorium’ according to Deputy Prime Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn. The building work is now nearing completion and the crematorium, which includes a nine-spired funeral pyre, looks spectacular already.
The structure has been built to represent the centre of the Hindu universe; Mount Meru, and it is believed that the pyre itself will help the late King’s soul to go into the afterlife. The royal crematorium has been adorned with images of the king alongside mythological design work.
For the grieving subjects in other areas of Thailand who are unable to visit the crematorium, a series of 85 replica crematoriums are being created all around the country. There will be one replica per district, with an extra eight in and around Bangkok. This will ensure that everybody who wishes to will be able to attend the seven-day-long funeral in their own way.
The funeral will also include shows, dancing and plays after the King himself reintroduced the provision of entertainment at royal funerals. The ancient custom had been discontinued until the King brought it back in 2008.
After the funeral has taken place and the country comes out of the extended period of mourning, the new King Rama X can officially be crowned. Rama X will succeed as the tenth king of the Chakri dynasty.