No date has been set yet, but more details about King Bhumibol's funeral, specifically the cremation, are emerging.
In the days after His late Majesty's death on 13 October, it was announced that there would be a 1-year mourning period. I presume that the cremation will take place towards the end of that period. Perhaps at the beginning of October, 2017?
The new sovereign, King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, announced last week that he was appointing his next younger sister, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, to oversee the construction of the royal crematorium. It will be designed and built by a team from the Fine Arts Department.
The English-language dailies have published the plans, which are based on the concept of Mt Meru, above which is the abode of the gods in Buddhist belief. The image below was published in The Nation.
Unsurprisingly, it's visibly larger and grander than the crematoria erected for recent royal funerals, including that of the King's late elder sister, Princess Galyani Vadhana. The Nation reports that construction is projected to be completed in late September, 2017.
The location will of course be Sanam Luang, the vast open, grassy area outside the Grand Palace where the Royal Ploughing Ceremony is held annually. Bangkokians also use Sanam Luang for recreation and relaxation. You often see young people playing football or picnicking there, for example. I expect that some or all of the area will be closed off for the construction of the crematorium starting at least in the summer.
I myself am going to try very hard to get to Bangkok for the cremation. It would truly be a once in a lifetime experience. There will be other royal funerals in future, but none are likely to be on this scale or have the epochal resonance that this one will evoke.
For a full explanation of the symbolism in the design, you can read the article in The Nation here:
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