THE GRAND procession for the Royal Cremation of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej will comprise six separate processions of Royal chariots and palaquins.
It will be the first time in 67 years that the public will witness the meticulous tradition of the third procession of the Royal Gun carriage, or Rajarot Puen Yai.
The Rajarot Puen Yai is used in the royal cremation of a king or a high-ranking member of the Royal Family who held a military position. It has been used during ceremonies to carry the Royal Urn on three counter-clockwise rounds of the Royal Crematorium.
The use of this chariot was introduced in the reign of King Vajiravudh (Rama VI), to replace the traditional use of Phra Yannamas Sam Lam Khan (a palanquin with three poles). In response to the wishes of King Vajiravudh, King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) ordered the use of the Rajarot Puen Yai to carry the Royal Urn for King Vajiravudh around the Royal Crematorium.
Rajarot Puen Yai was used for the last time in the Royal Cremation of King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) in 1950.
The Royal Gun carriage, comprising two carts known as a limber and a caisson, represents that His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the supreme commander of the country’s armed forces.
The front cart has been newly built, but the back cart is a restoration of the “Mountain 51” gun carriage with the registered number 21863 and the substitution carriage number 21866.
The Royal Thai Army Ordnance Department in Nakhon Ratchasima undertook the restoration.
The new Royal Gun carriage has been fitted with a third wheel to enhance its strength and ability to balance.
Decorations in traditional style have been designed by Fine Art Department artist Chanayotin Aupaluck. He says the design derives from original drawings made by Prince Narisara Nuwattiwong for the Rajarot Puen Yai Rang Kwean used in the funeral of King Rama VI.
The motifs have been hand-carved in teak.
“The traditional motifs include the lotus, used to decorate the base, and singha for each post of the base, which will hold the royal urn. Other krajang motifs are used for the wheels and along the carriage,” Chanayotin says.
“The metal construction of the chariot is coloured in dark army green and the carved wood is in an elegant golden shade.”
The Royal Gun carriage weighs more than 1,000 kilograms, is 1.85 metres high and seven metres long. It will take about 40 men to pull it.