Thailand gives a teary send off to its beloved monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Sombre crowds began gathering to pay final respects to Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, braving a tropical downpour to camp out along the funeral procession route for a monarch who died last year and was revered by some as a demi-god.
The five-day Buddhist ceremony, which begins on Wednesday, has taken nearly a year to prepare and 3 billion baht ($90 million) has been set aside to pay for the funeral.
Arriving a day early to guarantee their place for a funeral that is expected to draw 250,000 people, mourners pitched flimsy tents in the middle of Bangkok’s old quarter to provide some protection from the torrential rain.
Hotels in the old town neighborhood have been booked up weeks in advance, and a national holiday has been declared for Oct. 26, the day of the cremation.
Although he was a constitutional monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been credited with reviving the prestige of the monarchy.
Aged 88 when he died, the king was viewed by many people a pillar of stability in the politically turbulent Southeast Asian country, where a military junta currently holds power.
The king’s cremation site, which features gold-tipped pavilions built for the occasion, is a stone’s throw from the Grand Palace, popular …read more