Thailand’s dead king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who led a life of obscene luxury only to snuff it last October, has yet to be cremated – and won’t be for another eight months.
The longest reigning monarch in Thailand’s history – he held that sinecure for 70 years and 126 days – Bhumi was worth at least $30 billion by the time he died.
So how do you eventually send off a mere mortal who was as rich as Croesus?
It’s obvious, surely. You cart him off on a chariot.
But no ordinary chariot. This one is known as the “Great Victory” chariot, supposedly the only proper vehicle to transport the ‘divine’ back to heaven. Now undergoing renovation, the wooden chariot was first built in 1795, weighs almost 14 tonnes, is 18 metres long and has been used 25 times previously. It’s now being re-gilded. It will be pulled by 216 men.
Bhumi was succeeded by his son, Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, who, to many people’s relief, is more briefly known as Rama X.
Picture source: Fibo4me