Live Photo Blog: The Royal Crematorium

The Royal Crematorium on Sanam Luang was opened to the public on Thursday 2nd November. I am here on opening day. The first thing I should say is that there wasn’t a separate entrance for foreigners today. We had to enter and queue with the Thais. It took me 90 minutes to get in. I think people coming later wouldn’t have to wait so long. There was a delay for people in the first round to enter.

UPDATED: 2pm

See blog: How to visit the Royal Crematorium in November
GPS Coordinates:13.755064, 100.493117

Referred to as Phra Merumas (Golden Crematorium), the Royal Crematorium is where the Royal Urn is placed on the pyre (Phra Chittakathan) for the cremation. Traditionally, it was built as a temporary construction in the middle of the city for cremating a deceased king or queen, or high-ranking royal, and is recorded for the first time in the Ayutthaya period.

 

 

The Royal Crematorium is modeled after the imaginary Mount Sumeru, the center of the universe in Buddhist cosmology. In the ancient Thai kingdom, the concept of a divine king was firmly established and institutionalized, and it was influenced by Hinduism and deism. To represent this concept, the artists and architects used their imagination in the construction of the Royal Crematorium.

The Fine Arts Department was assigned to design and construct the Royal Crematorium for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The Royal Crematorium comprises nine spire-roofed pavilions (busabok) rising from the base, which is formed in three levels. The principal pavilion is in the middle and is the centerpiece of the ceremony, with the pyre for the setting up of the Royal Urn to be cremated and fire screens. The Nine-tiered Great White Umbrella of State is placed at the top of the principal pavilion. There are stairs in the four directions. The western part of the Royal Crematorium faces the Royal Merit-Making Pavilion (Phra Thinang Song Tham).

The structure measures 50.49 meters from the base to the top. It is made of wood, with an inner steel structure. The “heavenly pond” is found in the four directions of the Royal Crematorium base and is also decorated with auspicious animals, namely elephants, horses, cows, and lions. Sculptures of mythical creatures that exist in the Himmaphan (Himavanta) Forest surround the base of Mount Sumeru.

There are also sculptures of Khun Tongdaeng and Khun Jo Cho, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej pet dogs, to be placed in the principal pavilion of the Royal Crematorium.

The first level is surrounded with the ceremonial fence, or enclosure (Rajawat). The figures of Thao Chatulokkaban, or the four guardians of the world, are found at the four corners.

The second level consists of the Dismantling Halls (Ho Plueang), where the Outer Royal Urn and the
Sandalwood Royal Urn will be kept, as well as other items used in the Royal Cremation Ceremony. There are also six sculptures of Garuda (a mythical figure that is half bird, half human).

The third level comprises the Monks’ Pavilions (Sang) at the four corners of the Royal Crematorium, for monks who will chant Scriptures.

The magnificent Royal Crematorium is also decorated with eight standing celestial beings and 32 celestial beings in a kneeling position.

The landscape at the ceremonial site has been arranged to pay tribute to the work of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, with a rice field, vetiver grass, Chaipattana Aerators, along with a model kaem ling, or water retention area, among others. Literally meaning “monkey cheek,” kaem ling is a well-known flood-control project initiated by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The ceremonial ground is also decorated with many plant species, with an emphasis on yellow flowers, such as marigolds. Yellow is the color representing Monday, the day on which His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born.

19 thoughts on “Live Photo Blog: The Royal Crematorium

  • November 2, 2017 at 1:55 pm
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    How big were the crowds, and how long did you have to wait in line to get in through the foreigners’ entrance?

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    • November 2, 2017 at 2:24 pm
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      There was no foreigners entrance today. Everyone was together apart from monks and disabled. I waited 90 minutes or so to get in. But I think later rounds would have been quicker as we were delayed by a visit by the princess.

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      • November 2, 2017 at 3:25 pm
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        My Boss is a foreigner and he’s planning to go at 7 a.m. round. I told him that the checking point for Foreigners is behind the Ministry of Defense, so he’s asked me which pier he should get off from the boat and will he find the way to the The Royal Crematorium from there.

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          • November 4, 2017 at 9:26 pm
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            I did go through the Interior or Defense Ministry checkpoint on Friday Nov. 3 at 7:30 am and was let in to see the ground at 8:15 am. This is the check point at the intersection of Rachinee and Kalayamaitree along the Lord canal. Few people use this checkpoint which is for general public and tourists. I am taking several friends there again tomorrow after 6 am. I hope it is still open.

          • November 6, 2017 at 1:40 pm
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            I went via the Royal Hotel entrance this morning and was almost told to go to the Lak Muang security point but they let me in as a solo visitor.

  • November 2, 2017 at 3:26 pm
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    By the way, love all of the pictures you have taken at the Royal Crematorium. They’re very beautiful.

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  • November 2, 2017 at 3:59 pm
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    My thai wife and myself (belgian) would like to visit the crematorium. But I understand that there are specific entrances for foreigners and thai visitors. Is that means , once inside, we would be separated as well? Thank you for your infos

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      • November 6, 2017 at 1:43 pm
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        Almost turned away at Royal Hotel security entrance this morning but they let me in as a solo foreigner.

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  • November 2, 2017 at 8:01 pm
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    Just now: “ban on entering the Royal Crematorium – general public can visit only the surroundings” … “the ministry announced a new rule restricting photography to the area outside the Royal Crematorium”.

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  • November 2, 2017 at 9:22 pm
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    Once again, thank you Richard.

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  • November 8, 2017 at 11:24 pm
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    I visited the site today and arrived about 2.30pm. Only had to wait half an hour in the queue. No separate one for foreigners.

    Reply

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