BANGKOK (REUTERS) – Eleven elephants from Thailand’s ancient capital of Ayutthaya knelt in respect for the country’s late king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, during a procession in Bangkok on Tuesday (Nov 08).
The elephants and about 200 handlers marched to the glittering Grand Palace before the animals crouched down for the observation of a minute of silence in memory of the king, who died last month, aged 88, after 70 years on the throne.
“This is the biggest event in my life,” said Ayuthaya Elephant Palace owner Laithongrien Meephan, who led the procession.
The animals were decorated to look like white elephants, an auspicious animal in Thailand, and cloaked in gold and black ceremonial garments.
One elephant carried a picture of the king, while the handlers, dressed in black as a sign of respect, sang the royal anthem in tribute.
Thailand’s military government has declared official mourning for a year following the death of the king, a beloved father figure who was the world’s longest-reigning monarch.