An extraordinary Royal Procession - Royal Barge Procession 2012


You will find several royal processions in different countries all over the world. But if you like to join an absolutely extraordinary and very rare held royal procession on water, then don't miss the Royal Barge Procession in Bangkok.

This is your rare opportunity to join this impressive spectactle!

You can join it on November, 6. during the full dress rehearsal, or at the "Royal Barge Procession" on November, 9. It will be held on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.

The beginnings of this unusual procession reaches back to the 14th Century. In 1357 decreed King Boromtrailokanat of Ayutthaya a decree of a ceremony called "Asayuth". A race between the boat of the king and the boat of the queen. The race took place in the 11th lunar month, in particular at the end of the rainy season when the rivers are at their highest tide.

When the boat of the King called "Samatthachai" won, the people could expect hardship and famine. In case the Queen's boat ""Kraisonramuk" won, they would signify fertility and abundance. Needless to say for which boat the peoples sympathy was. Usually the "Kraisonramuk" wons the race.

The procession was moved to fullmoon in the 12th lunar month as "Jong Priang" ceremony. People were floating lights on the water.

Traditions telling of the king's travels in various parts of Thailand and processions with more than two hundred floating barges were seen.

The procession of royal barges is still one of the most well prepared ceremonies in Thailand.

The oarsmen are dressed in colored robes with golden ornaments. They were paddling and moving the barges in the rhythm of traditinal thai chants.

Time is changing and also the way of traffic on Thailand's waterways. You will not see that much paddling boats on the river anymore, except at the Royal Barge Procession.

This ceremony will be preserved as a cultural heritage of Thailand.

Unfortunately, these ceremony is very rare, because it is not held every year. During the beginning of the 66-year reign of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX. Of Thailand) in 1946, there were only 16 such ceremonies.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej
© Government of Thailand

After the procession in 1932, King Bhumibol Adulyadej revived this tradition first time in 1957, in celebration of the 25th Century of the Buddha era again.

The following processions were called "Royal Kathin Ceremony" held in honor of the Buddhists. Kathina is a festival of Buddhists at the end of the three month period of retreat during the rainy season. 
Members of the royal family offering new saffron colored robes for the monks of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). 
Wat Arun is a temple on the West bank of the Chao Phraya River, in opposite of the world famous Wat Po, where you will find the reclining Buddha and fantastic traditional Thai massage, called "Nuad" .

This year, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will hold the ceremony.

Maha Varjiralongkorn
© Sidakan

But who knows, maybe His Majesty is able to attend the Royal Barge Procession on November, 9. in some way...

The full dressed rehearsal will be held on Tuesday 6 November 2012:

The procession starts at 3pm at Vasukri Royal Landing Pier and leads down the river to Wat Arun temple. The end of the ceremony will be around 4.30pm.

However, the river is already closed from 11am for the entire trafic on the river. They have to prepare the 52 barges for the correct alignment and they want to avoid damaging any of this ancient barges because of high waves.

This means crossing the river is only possible via the bridges, either by bus, car, or Skytrain. It will be crowded on the roads and the amount of passengers using the Skytrain will increase too during this time..

The Royal Barge Procession takes place on Friday November, 9.

There are tickets for seats with a good view available, but there is no need to buy expensive tickets. Be early at the river and look for a good place. You will find several good places along the river for taking pictures and enjoying the Royal Barge Procession. One good spot is close to Khao San Road. It is Phra Sumen Fort and the Santichaiprakan Park.

More information on the Royal Barge Procession, the boats, the oarsmen, the clothes and the history:

In English

In German

For those who want to see more barges, visit the Royal Barge Museum. It is located at a branch of the Chao Phrayo River on the West bank (South-West of Pin Klao Bridge).

1 Kommentar:

  1. Too bad I haven't had the chance to observe that. I'm glad you did, though. When you're back in DE, it won't be easy for you to go to BKK just to see a procession, however rare it may be :)


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