HRH PRINCESS GALYANI VADHANA FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS
Cremation pyre design finished
The Culture Ministry will today submit a design for the royal cremation pyre of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana to a government committee overseeing the arrangements. The design of the cremation pyre was done by Group Captain Arvuth Ngernchuklin, a national artist and former director-general of the Fine Arts Department, said Culture Minister Khunying Khaisri Sri-aroon.
The blueprint would be handed to the committee chaired by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont.
She said Thanpuying Putrie Viravaidya, deputy principal private secretary to His Majesty the King, had also discussed with her preparations for a royal funeral chariot to carry the royal urn containing the late Princess' ashes after her funeral.
All royal chariots are kept at the National Museum's royal garage.
The Fine Arts Department and the Army's Ordnance Department have inspected the chariots and other royal vehicles. The Wechayanratcharot chariot, which was built in the reign of King Rama I, was expected to be used to bear the royal urn, she said.
If the government agreed with the pyre's design, it would be submitted to the King for royal approval.
Fine Arts Department director-general Kriengkrai Sampatchalit said the department had been focusing on just three issues: components of the cremation pyre, the construction budget and the timeframe for construction.
The pyre's construction, expected to cost between 150 and 200 million baht, should take at least four months to complete, said Mr Kriengkrai.
The estimated cost was based on the cost of the cremation pyre built for Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother, who passed away in 1995.
It cost about 120 million baht at the time, and the cremation pyre took six months to build.
The Office of Traditional Arts will be responsible for decorating the pyre.
Members of the public, government officials, students and foreign envoys flocked to Sala Sahathai Samakhom in the Grand Palace for the fifth day yesterday to sign condolence books and pay their respects before the portrait of the Princess.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, meanwhile, is considering publishing another 50,000 copies of the book Sathit Na Duangjai to meet the high public demand, Governor Apirak Kosayodhin said.
Initially, 2,000 copies were published for free distribution to mark the Princess' 84th birthday.
Those turning up to sign the condolence books yesterday received copies of Sathit Na Duangjai at City Hall's Lan Khon Muang civic ground, where an exhibition of the Princess' charitable works is being held until April 11.
The BMA has arranged a free shuttle bus service to transport visitors from Sanam Luang to Lan Khon Muang Plaza everyday, said Mr Apirak.