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Tags: white | elephants | respects | thai | king

White Elephants Pay Respects to Late Thai King

White Elephants Pay Respects to Late Thai King

Mahouts lead a procession of 11 white elephants outside the Grand Palace in honor of the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 November 2016 08:55 AM

White elephants paid respects to the late Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej, kneeling during a procession in Bangkok on Tuesday.

Eleven elephants from Thailand's ancient capital of Ayutthaya were joined by about 200 handlers as they marched to the Grand Palace before kneeling for a minute of silence in observation of the king, who died last month at 88, Reuters reported via the Daily Mail. Adulyadej was on the throne for 70 years in Thailand.

The Bangkok Post wrote that the elephants' handlers sang the royal anthem Sansoen Phra Barami while attending mourners joined in. Laithonglean Meephan, the owner of the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace & Royal Kraal, said the elephants were trained to perform in in the ceremony, according to the Post.

In the Thai culture, white elephants are believed to be vital to the wellbeing and prosperity of the kingdom, according to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center website. A white elephant was on the national flag until 1917, and a white elephant still part of the Royal Thai Navy, noted the website.

Nine of the elephants at Tuesday's procession were white and two were painted that way, Ittipan Kaolamai, manager of the Royal Elephant Kraal and Village in Ayutthaya province, said, according to The Associated Press.

Kaolamai added that the one of the two spray-painted elephants had a portrait of Bhumibol on its back and the other carried a drummer, noted The AP.

According to Reuters, Thailand's government declared an official year of mourning following the king's death, who was the world's longest-reigning monarch.

Adulyadej, who died on Oct. 13, was viewed as a stabilizing force in a country that suffered through cycles of political turmoil and multiple coups, according to the BBC News. Thailand continues to be under military rule since a coup in 2014, stated the broadcaster.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will be the new monarch, Thailand officials said, according to the BBC News.

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TheWire
White elephants paid respects to the late Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej, kneeling during a procession in Bangkok on Tuesday.
white, elephants, respects, thai, king
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2016-55-08
Tuesday, 08 November 2016 08:55 AM
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