Ten elephants were brought to a full dress rehearsal at the Royal Elephant Kraal Village in Ayutthaya province yesterday ahead of their participation in mourning for the late King Bhumibol at the Grand Palace in Bangkok on Tuesday.
Laithongrien Meepan, president of the Prakochabaan Foundation elephant protection organisation, said that the 10 animals – which were selected for their beautiful characteristics including long tusks – would be joined by their mahouts and foundation staff in paying respects to the late monarch.
The rehearsal and previous training of the beasts were to ensure they were fully prepared before travelling to Bangkok early on Tuesday morning, he said.
An elegantly decorated elephant named Plai Wang will lead the other elephants, all adorned in black embroidered cloths, in a procession carrying a portrait of His Majesty with the royal white elephant Phra Sawet Adulyadej Phahon.
The procession, which will also be attended by 200 mahouts, will pass the Defence Ministry at 9.09am on Tuesday before entering the Grand Palace. Then all elephants and mahouts will stand still in mourning and prostrate themselves in high respect to the late King. They will later return to Ayutthaya.
Laithongrien said all the elephants in the procession were best males from the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace’s Elephant Breeding Centre and had performed a show in front of the late King during his last visit to Ayutthaya’s Thung Makham Yong in 2012.
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