PHOTOS: Golden chariot restored for late king’s ‘ascent to heaven’

Inch by gilded inch, the chariot that will be used to take Thailand’s late king on his last journey is being restored by workers in Bangkok as part of a project that will take months.

Built of wood and decorated with gold and mirrors, the 13.7 ton chariot is 18 meters long, 11.2 meters high and 4.8 meters wide.

Pulled by 216 men, it will carry the remains of King Bhumibol Adulyadej to the site of the cremation on the Sanam Luang grounds outside the Royal Palace.

King Bhumibol died on Oct. 13 after seven decades on the throne, plunging Thailand into mourning, which for many Thais will last a year. No date has yet been set for the cremation, but it will not take place before October.

Known as the “Great Victory” Chariot, the vehicle is believed take the divine back to heaven. Renovation of the carriage began in January and is due to be completed by September.

The chariot was first built in 1795, during the reign of King Rama I, for the cremation of his father. King Bhumibol was Rama IX in the Chakri dynasty. He has been succeeded by his son, King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, known as Rama X.

The chariot has been used 25 times, most recently in 2012 for the cremation of Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda, the late king’s cousin.

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