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Royal crematorium to symbolise Mount Sumeru

Royal crematorium to symbolise Mount Sumeru

MONDAY, November 28, 2016

THE GRAND Royal crematorium for HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Sanam Luang is designed to symbolise Mount Sumeru – the centre of the Buddhist Universe.

“The royal crematorium will stand tall at 50.49 metres,” Fine Arts Department’s director |general Anan Chuchote said |yesterday. 
He said the structure would be grand and befit the prestige of the late King. 
Thais across the country have had much reverence for the late King, or King Rama IX, who passed away on October 13 at the age of 89. At the time of his passing, he had reigned for 70 years and was the world’s longest reigning monarch. 
According to Buddhist cosmology, heavens sit above Mount Sumeru. 
“The design for the royal crematorium is based on Buddhist cosmology and the beliefs that a king is semi-divine,” Anan said. 
He said the royal crematorium would be surrounded by eight pointed-roof pavilions, to represent Mount Sumeru’s surrounding mountains. 
“We will decorate them with the Himmapan-creature sculptures,” Anan added. 
Himmapan Forest is situated at the foot of Mount Sumeru, according to Buddhist cosmology. 
“Pillars for the royal crematorium will bear Garuda, the vehicle for Phra Narai,” Anan explained. 
He said an agarwood royal urn was already designed.
The designs were revealed to the public for the first time yesterday, shortly after Deputy Prime Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn announced |that they had already been approved by the committee overseeing the construction of the crematorium. 
Tanasak said several structures would be built around the crematorium to accommodate about 7,400 people. An exhibition honouring the late monarch will also be set up and will feature royally-initiated projects including the late King’s Sufficiency Economy philosophy. 
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is expected to submit the area for building of the royal crematorium to state authorities soon. The BMA has already taken moves to relocate some tents in Sanam Luang to prepare for this. 
The construction is expected to be completed by September next year. 
Culture Minister Vira Rojpojchanarat said his ministry would publish guidebooks on royal words and distribute them among relevant agencies and media. 
“We will also publish one million copies about the late king’s royal addresses for distribution to people,” he said. 
Meanwhile, Chaipattana Foundation secretary-general Dr Sumet Tantivejkul said at an event yesterday: “The late King has never really left us. He can be compared to a founder of religion. No such founders live on forever. 
“Death is common, just like birth, ageing and illness. But no matter how many years pass, the teachings of these founders live on. 
“The late King had taught us so many things during his 70-year-long reign … let follow in his footsteps.”