Monday, 26 November 2012

Thailand: Royal Barge Procession

Thailand's Royal Barge Procession is a ceremony dating back almost 700 years that has been revived during the reign of the current monarch. It consists of 52 barges, most of them historical, manned by over 2,000 oarsmen from the Thai navy. The procession starts at Khet Dusit and proceeds down the Chao Praya River to arrive at Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn.

The procession also passes the UNICEF office, which overlooks the Chao Praya at Phra Athit. During the rehearsal we were free to watch from the windows, roof or fire escape. But during the actual ceremony we were told by police to close all the blinds and move to the ground floor, where we watched through the compound railings. This was because the Crown Prince was on one of the barges and it is not permitted for 'commoners' to be higher than him.

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