BANGKOK, THAILAND (OCTOBER 21, 2017) (REUTERS) – Drums and a band played as officials in black tops and ancient costumes rehearsed on Saturday (October 21) for the funeral procession of Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose cremation next week is expected to be attended by a quarter of a million mourners.
Some held a mock-up of a golden urn that had held the remains of dead kings in the past. In the present, the king’s body is placed in a coffin but the urn is still used to represent the monarch’s remains.
The procession rehearsal, which was expected to take up at least five hours, passed crowds of black-clad mourners in Bangkok’s historic quarter. Some were visibly moved by the proceedings. Others held gold-framed portraits of the late king.
The military government has set 3 billion baht ($90 million) aside for the lavish funeral. Preparations took almost a year to complete, with thousands of artisans working to create an elaborate structure of gold-tipped Thai pavilions in a square in front of the glittering Grand Palace.
King Bhumibol, who died on Oct. 13 last year at the age of 87, ruled Thailand for seven decades and is credited by some as having revived the prestige of the monarchy. The king’s cremation will take place on Oct. 26.