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Princess Galyani Vadhana of Thailand

(6 May 1923 – 2 January 2008) was a Princess of Thailand and the elder sister of King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) and King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). She was also a direct granddaughter of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V).

Funeral Temple of Princess Galyani Vadhana

The ceremonies for the Princess, the full mourning period runs from 13th to 19th November. After the mourning is over, the funeral temple, temporarily constructed at Sanam Luang by the Grand Palace after months of work by hundreds of craftsmen, will be demolished. Onlookers can only see the temple from the pavement that runs around the oval parade ground, as it is shut to the public.

Thousands of mourners turned out to watch the ceremony, which came a day after more than 100,000 Thais attended the lavish US$8.9 million (S$13.5 million) cremation of the princess, the elder sister of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. On Saturday 15, 3 processions (from the royal throne hall, where she had lain in state for 10 months) were composed of 3,294 soldiers, flanked by conch shell-blowers, drummers and musicians. Two of the processions involved Phra Yannamas Sam Lam Khan, an 18th century, seven metric ton palanquin carried by 60 men. The two-century-old sweet-smelling sandalwood golden teak urn hold Galyani’s remains in upright position, on top of an elaborately decorated 14-ton golden carriage Phra Maha Phichai Ratcharot.

Both dressed in white ceremonial dress, Maha Vajiralongkorn, Crown Prince of Thailand and Somchai Wongsawat, inter alia, took part in the procession, in Sanam Luang parade ground. In Uttaradit, black-dressed Thais flocked to the royally-sponsored Wat Klong Poh in the provincial sea to place 400,000 sandalwood flowers at the crematorium. At 10 pm Saturday, King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will, with the help of a hydraulic tappet, set light to a 40m (130ft) high funeral pyre, modeled on Mount Meru. The $5.7m (£3.8m) temporary royal crematorium, a complex of pavilions, constructed on the Sanam Luang parade ground 7 months, had been lavishly decorated with flowers, garlands and carved banana stalks. Soldiers pulled the royal chariot carrying the funeral urn slowly past the Grand Palace to Sanam Luang, as Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and Princess Sirindhorn followed, paying final respects to their aunt. After the cremation, the funeral buildings will be torn down, as reminders of a beloved royal’s death. Galyani’s spirit will then return home to Mount Meru, where all deities eternally live, per Hindu beliefs.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s only sister, Princess Wattana, who died from cancer in January at age 84, is mourned by millions in Thailand.

The elaborate funeral, nearly a year in the making, involves thousands of soldiers in dress uniform and a gilded, ornate crematorium.

This majestic tribute, Thais believe, befits the princess’ place in the revered monarchy.

The king and queen will preside over the actual cremation in a private ceremony.

Thousands of people came, bearing offerings of sandalwood, and lining up to pay their final respects. Those who were not able to be at Sanam Luang will have an opportunity to pay their respects at monasteries around the country.

A group of women had journeyed from Chumpon Province in the south on an overnight trip to attend the funeral.

One of the woman said: “I loved the princess because she was down-to-earth… I came to lay sandalwood flowers below her portrait.”

A member of the public said: “She worked very hard for people, so that made me want to attend this funeral… to pay a final tribute.”

Another said: “As a Thai, I am proud of the small part I can play by coming to her funeral.”
Is the first full royal funeral since 1996, when the king’s mother Srinagarindra was cremated. It had been performed for only four royals in Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 62-year reign. A rare glimpse of the pageantry of the House of Chakri, the royal funeral tradition dated back to Ayuthaya period is influenced by 1,000-year-old India’s Hindu traditions that treat kings as incarnations or descendants of deities and Buddhism’s merit-making ceremonies. The 6-day funeral ceremony and ritual officially started on Friday November 14, 2008, at the Grand Palace, and terminates on November 19 when Galyani’s ashes will be transferred to a nearby temple.

Posted by Evgo