MORE THAN 100 water sources in 76 provinces have been surveyed for a careful selection process to determine the principal sources of sacred water to be used in the elaborate “Rachaphisek” coronation rite for King Maha Vajiralongkorn on May 4-6.
Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda yesterday said he had instructed officials in the provinces to survey 107 water sources in order to select the principal sources for sacred water and to carry out landscaping arrangements for the rite.
“Abhisek” sacred water will be collected from each chosen source in accordance with ancient tradition, he said.
In coronation rites for King Rama I to Rama IV, the water used in the purification bath of the King on the morning of coronation day was collected from six principal sources, in line with the tradition of the Ayutthaya Kingdom.
The water from four ancient ponds of Suphanburi known as Sra Ket, Sra Kaew, Sra Ganga and Sra Yamuna was counted as one source combined with those from the “Benjasuthiganga” five principle rivers in the Kingdom. These were the Phetchaburi River (collected in tambon Tha Chai of Phetchanburi’s Muang district), the Ratchaburi River (collected from tambon Dawadeung in Samut Songkhram’s Muang district), the Chao Phraya River (collected from tambon Bang Kaew in Ang Thong’s Muang district), the Pa Sak River (collected from tambon Tha Rap in Sara Buri’s Muang district), and the Bang Pakong River (collected from Phra Ajarn Pond in Nakhon Nayok’s Muang district).
Later, the second coronation rite (after leaving monkhood) for King Rama V in 1873 added water from another five sources in India known as “Panjamahanathee” – the five ancient Indian rivers of the Ganges (Ganga), the Mahi, the Yamuna, the Sarayu and the Achiravati.
That brought the number of water sources used in the coronation rites to 11.
King Rama VI’s first coronation rite used the same 11 water sources and his second coronation rite used the “Abhisek” sacred water consecrated at 17 sites.
The 17 sites included 10 important Buddhist temples across the country such as Wat Borommathat of Chai Nat, Wat Mahathat of Phetchabun, Wat Klang of Nakhon Ratchasima, Wat Sothon of Chacherngsao, Wat Thong of Phuket and Wat Phrathat Chaiya of Chumphon.
The coronation rites for King Rama VII and King Rama IX used sacred water anointed at 18 sites.
The rite for King Rama VII had added Bung Phra Lanchai in Roi Et to the existing 17 sites and shifted from Wat Mahathat of Phetchabun to use Phra That Cho Hae of Phrae instead.
The rite for King Rama IX maintained the number of 18 sites but shifted from Phra That Chor Hae to use Phra That Chae Haeng of Nan instead.
The consecrated water from each source will be sent to Bangkok before the coronation ceremonies and enshrined at the Ubosot of Wat Phra Kaew until the rite.