Funeral of King Bhumibol Adulyadej ends a year of mourning and sets the stage for King Maha Vajiralongkorns era
Thousands of Thais dressed in black prostrated themselves and wept as the funeral urn for their former king Bhumibol Adulyadej, a man revered as a demigod who became the worlds longest-reigning monarch, was carried by chariot to his cremation pyre.
Despite monsoon-season downpours punctuated with searing subtropical temperatures, many mourners have spent days in tents hoping to be close to the official send-off for the ninth head of the Chakri dynasty on Thursday.
Hotels had been booked up weeks before the special day, which was declared a national holiday, and authorities prepared for 250,000 people to arrive.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the son of the former sovereign, performed the evening service at the three-tiered crematorium, which represents Mount Meru, the centre of the Hindu and Buddhist universe where it is believed Thai royals return after death.
The countrys top artisans have spent 10 months constructing the spectacular 50-metre-tall, golden crematorium. Its structure of nine gilded spires was adorned with images from mythology and the life of the king, including statues of his two favourite dogs.
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