By Agence France-Presse Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej will receive a lavish send-off this week during a spectacular five-day funeral centered around a cremation at a gilded pyre in Bangkok’s historic heart on Thursday. Steeped in centuries of royal tradition and overseen by strict palace protocols, the elaborate $90 million ceremony will draw an estimated quarter million Thais to bid farewell to the “father” of the nation, who died last year aged 88. Here’s a few things to know about the funeral of a king revered as a demi-god who reigned for seven decades. The site At the heart of the cremation complex is a 50-metre (164-foot) high funeral pyre symbolising Mount Meru, the allegorical centre of the universe in Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cosmology. The gold-painted structure is adorned with dozens of intricate sculptures of animals, deities and mythical creatures from Buddhist and Hindu lore. Pride of place will go to sculptures of the late king’s beloved dogs. Arranged symmetrically around the main tower are eight smaller structures representing the mountains surrounding Meru — and a possible nod to Bhumibol’s title as the ninth monarch of the Chakri dynasty, or Rama IX. The vast site, nearly a year in… Read full this story
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