Thai King Bhumibol’s Hearse Blessed in Ancient Rite

Nontarat Phaicharoen
2017.09.21
Bangkok
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Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha lights candles and incense at an offerings table to commence the rite, Sept. 21, 2017. (Nontarat Phaicharoen/BenarNews)

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Soldiers stand as they wait for the Phra Maha Phichai Ratcharot hearse, or “Great Victory Royal Chariot,” to be brought out, Sept. 21, 2017. (Nontarat Phaicharoen/BenarNews)

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Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha places a garland on the Phra Maha Phichai Ratcharot hearse, Sept. 21, 2017. (Nontarat Phaicharoen/BenarNews)

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A Thai classical dancer celebrates the launch of royal chariots, Sept. 21, 2017. (Nontarat Phaicharoen/BenarNews)

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Official staff perform the first pull of the “canon” chariot from the carriage house, Sept. 21, 2017. (Nontarat Phaicharoen/BenarNews)

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Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha leads the parade of the Phra Maha Phichai Ratcharot, Sept. 21, 2017. (Nontarat Phaicharoen/BenarNews)

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Officials line up in front of the Phra Maha Phichai Ratcharot, Sept. 21, 2017. (Nontarat Phaicharoen/BenarNews)

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The royal chariot and palanquin are to be used in the cremation rites of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Sept. 21, 2017. (Nontarat Phaicharoen/BenarNews)

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Thais and foreigners observe the ancient rite from outside the National Museum, Sept. 21, 2017. (Nontarat Phaicharoen/BenarNews)

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People photograph the royal chariot and palanquin after the end of ceremony, Sept. 21, 2017. (Nontarat Phaicharoen/BenarNews)

Updated at 11:10 a.m. ET on 2017-09-22

Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-o-cha presided Thursday over the blessing of a historic hearse that will be used to carry the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej to Sanam Luang (the Royal Ground) for his cremation in Bangkok on Oct. 26.

Bhumibol, Thailand’s longest-reigning king, died Oct. 13, 2016, at the age of 88. His funeral rites are scheduled for Oct. 25 to 29.

The hearse, named Phra Maha Phichai Ratcharot or “Great Victory Royal Chariot,” was first used in 1795 for the funeral of the father of King Rama I, and later to transport royals of the Chakri Dynasty. It has been rebuilt for the current ceremony.

The 13-ton carriage of carved, lacquered, and gilded wood will be pulled by 216 men.

An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about the Golden Palanquin.

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