BANGKOK – Thailand on Friday entered into its third week of mourning after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej earlier this month, with grieving crowds permitted starting Saturday evening to pay respects to the deceased king at the Grand Palace, according to authorities.
Up to 10,000 people will be permitted into the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall per day starting Saturday, in groups of 150 people, Bangkok’s Deputy Governor Amnuay Nimmano told the Bangkok Post.
After the one year mourning period, preparations will begin to use the royal chariot for the ritual procession, a spokesperson at the National Museum told epa.
“The very large superbly carved Grand Chariot of Victory next to the door is used to transport the urn containing the body of a king or queen to the cremation pyre,” notes the museum on its official website.
The 201-year-old royal chariot, called the Phra Maha Pichai chariot in Thai, holds the large golden urn for the remains of the king and the royal family and was constructed by King Rama the Great in the 1800s.
The ritual use of the 20-ton chariot, which requires 295 men to carry it, dates back to the Ayutthaya period though it has been refurbished to include wheels. It was most recently used in 2011 after the death of the daughter of King Rama VI.
King Bhumibol passed away at Sriraj Hospital at the age of 88 on Oct. 13 and was the ninth monarch from the Chakri Dynasty.