Queen leads 1 million to pay last respects to monk
Her Majesty the Queen yesterday presided over the cremation ceremony of Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno, attended by large crowds of devoted followers at Wat Pa Ban Tad forest temple in Udon Thani's Muang district.
FINAL FAREWELL: Her Majesty the Queen presides over the cremation ceremony of Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno at Wat Pa Ban Tad forest temple in Udon Thani’s Muang district.
At 5.15pm, Her Majesty arrived at the temple's grounds, which had been filled with mourners since early morning. Among them was Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn. The mourning crowds observed in silence as Her Majesty proceeded with the ceremony. She made offerings of 10 sets of saffron robes, placed sandalwood, cut flowers and lit the funeral pyre to complete the symbolic cremation.
Next came the turn of HRH Princess Chulabhorn and senior monks, followed closely by senior government officials led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The actual cremation of Luangta Maha Bua took place at about 6pm, shortly after Her Majesty left.
The followers, who patiently waited their turn, moved forward row by row and placed sandalwood, cut flowers and logs around the crematorium before the funeral pyre was lit.
Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn places a set of monk’s robes at the funeral pyre of the late Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno. PHOTO: TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERDSeveral people remained at the temple and watched the fire. Many stayed overnight and will today join the alms giving and ash-collecting ceremony, which will be held at around midnight.
Luangta Maha Bua's ashes will be kept in a metal box which was locked by eight master keys for security. Eight revered monks hold one key each.
The ashes will be divided into two portions on Friday. One portion will be distributed among various forest temples, while the other will be put in a golden urn and also kept at Wat Pa Ban Tad.
It is estimated up to one million people joined yesterday's ceremony.
Those who attended the funeral received mementoes ranging from amulets to pictures and booklets.
One of the most sought-after items at the service was a chronicle of the life of Luangta Maha Bua compiled by Wat Pa Ban Tat.
Only 100,000 copies of the book have been printed for distribution under a budget of 20 million baht.
Several thousand police officers and soldiers were deployed yesterday to ensure order and traffic flow in the area.
Above right, flames engulf the coffin containing the body of Luangta Maha Bua. PHOTO: TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD
smoke billows as the body of Luangta Maha Bua is cremated. PHOTO: TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD
monks file past to pay their respects to the body of Luangta Maha Bua. PHOTO: TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD
up to one million mourners weathered the heat to attend the cremation of Luangta Maha Bua. PHOTO: NATHITI AMPRIWAN
mourners hold up photos of Luangta Maha Bua during the cremation ceremony. PHOTO: NATHITI AMPRIWAN