The title of today’s blog may be surprising, odd, or even out of place for some people unfamiliar with Thai customs. Visiting a crematorium is not high on most people’s lists of things to see. That is not true in the case of the crematorium used for King Bhumibol’s cremation due to its highly artistic, decorative nature. Crematorium used for past kings all draw from the traditional belief of Trai Bhumi, or the cosmic map of the universe. However, not all of them will be decorated exactly the same. In the case of his late majesty, his crematorium was highly personalized to reflect the uniqueness of his reign. For example, the area to the front of the crematorium displays several of his royal projects ideas, dealing with his water aerator (which he received a patten), rice strains introduced, as well as a grass (yah faek) with long roots he introduced to prevent erosion causing land slides. The celestial and mythological figures (Himapan) are worth a visit in their own right. (I will post later with an explanation on the beliefs behind these figures)
Thai tradition dictates that once a royal crematorium has served it purpose it is quickly dismantled, as having a crematorium stand for a long period of time would be inauspicious. However, due to the detailed, grand artistic nature of this Meru Mas (crematorium), as well and the late king’s legacy, the Thai Government will allow visitors access to the site from 2 to 29 November. There is very little information available on visiting the crematorium exhibition in English, therefore, I
submit the following information for English readers.
100,000 + visitors per day, 5,000 per session. This number consist of 80,000 members of the general public, 15,000 students, 500 Buddhist monks, 500 disabled, 8,000 foreign tourists.
Each one-hour session will be decided into 15 minutes in the area simulating the royal projects for photos, and 45 minutes to independently visit the six building in the exhibition.
The exhibition is decided into three sections: 1) the Royal Projections, 2) construction of the royal crematorium, 3) royal history and royal activities.
The exhibition is open daily between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (07:00 – 22:00 hrs). The theatrical performances will be between 6 p.m to 10 p.m. (18:00 – 22:00 hrs.)
Dress: No tank tops, short sleeves, or shorts.
Five access points to the site: general public via The Chang, the Tai Wang Junction and Mother Earth Fountain; Buddhist monks and the disabled via Dhammasart University, while foreign tourists vis the Ministry of Defense.
Only the first level of the crematorium is open to visitors, levels 2 and 3 are closed.
Information from: https://www.mangozero.com/king-rama-9-crematory-exhibition/