The Royal Barges

   The Royal Barge Museum houses eight of Thailand's finest and most beautiful barges, carved from huge pieces of teak. Four carry the monarchs, and four escort them.

    A Royal Barge procession is a ceremony of both religious and royal significance which has been taking place for nearly 700 years. Currently, the barges are being readied for a procession to mark the royal kathin ceremony at the end of Buddhist Lent in mid-October 2011. There will be 52 royal barges and 2,500 trained and synchronized oarsmen.The last royal barge procession was held on Nov 5, 2007 when His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn boarded the royal barge for the royal kathin ceremony at Wat Arun Ratchawararam (photo above from a Thai blog site).

We arrived by boat at the museum, and here's a bit of what we saw:

    
 
          Artisans are preparing the the Royal Barge Anantanakkharat for the procession. Underway, it carries 54 oarsmen, 2 steersmen, 1 chanter, 1 signalman, 1 standard bearer, and 7 bearers of the Royal Insignia.

  

  
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