The final day of the Royal Cremation ceremony for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej started on Sunday morning with the fifth procession to transfer his Royal Relics from the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall to be enshrined in the Heavenly Abode of the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall.
His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn arrived at the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the Grand Palace at 10.30am to preside over the religious rites. He was accompanied by members of the Royal Family including Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha, and Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya.
After lighting candles to pay respects to the late monarch in front of his Royal Reliquary Urn, 30 venerable monks led by the Supreme Patriarch, His Holiness Ariyavongsagatanana, chanted a prayer. The King, other Royal Family members and high-ranking officers later offered the monks food and received a blessing prayer.
The next session featured five respected monks led by Phra Phrom Methi from Wat Samphantawong giving a sermon. They were followed by another 89 monks – their number relating to King Bhumibol’s age at death – who performed ritual chants. The King presented them with saffron robes.
After the three-hour religious rite, the King and Royal Family members joined the procession featuring the Rajendrayan, or Royal Palanquin with Four Poles, carrying the Royal Reliquary Urn to the nearby Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall.
The Royal Palanquin with Four Poles required 56 men to carry, and the fifth procession presented a troop of 550 people. Supporting the Royal Reliquary Urn was the late monarch’s personal doctor, Dr Pradit Panchavinnin, director of Siriraj Piyamahakarun Hospital. With a short distance of 63 metres, the procession took about 10 minutes.
The late monarch’s Royal Relics were kept in the Throne Hall’s Heavenly Abode, alongside the Royal Relics of Kings Rama IV through VIII.
In the evening, at around 5.30pm, the Royal Ashes will be transferred from Phra Sri Rattana Chedi within the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to two Bangkok temples – Wat Rajabopidh Sathitmahasimaram and Wat Bovoranives Vihara.
The King’s Guard cavalry, led by the late monarch’s granddaughter, HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, will lead a motorcade procession in which the King and Princess Sirindhorn will accompany their father’s ashes to the two temples. This will be the last of the six elaborate processions during the five days of funeral ceremonies that began on Wednesday.
At Wat Rajabopidh, King Bhumibol’s Royal Ashes will be laid beneath the base of the Phra Buddha Ankhirot, the temple’s main Buddha statue, situated in the Phra Ubosot (ordination hall). The remains of his parents – HRH Prince Mahidol of Songkla and HRH Princess Srinagarindra – and his elder sister, HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana, also rest at the royal cemetery located at the west of the temple.
The other temple, Wat Bovoranives, is where he resided while ordained as a monk in 1956. The Phra Ubosot houses the revered Phra Buddha Chinnasi and his Royal Ashes will be enshrined at its base, near those of King Rama VI.