The world’s longest-reigning monarch, respected by the vast majority of Thai people, dies at 88 after prolonged illness.
Bangkok, Thailand – King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the world’s longest reigning monarch, ruling Thailand for 70 years. He died peacefully, aged 89, on October 13, 2016, at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok.
After one year of national mourning, an elaborate five-day funeral ceremony began on Wednesday in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok.
Approximately 250,000 people are attending the ceremony, with many arriving on Tuesday and sleeping on the streets surrounding the Grand Palace.
The events will culminate on Thursday evening with the royal cremation ceremony. This will take place at the Royal Crematorium, which was built especially for the occasion and will be dismantled after it served its purpose.
Like many other ceremonies in Thailand, the royal cremation ceremony has its roots in Hindu and Buddhist practices.
The Thai king is highly beloved by his subjects and considered to be of divine origins.
Following his death, it is believed that the king will return to Mount Sumeru – the centre of the Buddhist universe where all gods dwell – after his mission on Earth has ended.
On Thursday morning, the royal funeral urn was transferred from the Grand Palace to the Royal Crematorium in a procession attended by Thailand’s royal family, members of the army and thousands of people dressed in traditional attire.
Following the Royal Cremation, the royal relics will be sent back to the Grand Palace as well as to Wat Rajabopidh and Wat Bovoranives Buddhist temples in Bangkok.