Top Buddhist leader in Thailand cremated

Thousands of Thais (left) holding photos of the kingdom's late Buddhist leader lined the streets yesterday as a carriage (above) carrying an urn containing his remains was driven through Bangkok.
Thousands of Thais holding photos of the kingdom's late Buddhist leader lined the streets yesterday as a carriage (above) carrying an urn containing his remains was driven through Bangkok.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Thousands of Thais (left) holding photos of the kingdom's late Buddhist leader lined the streets yesterday as a carriage (above) carrying an urn containing his remains was driven through Bangkok.
Thousands of Thais (above) holding photos of the kingdom's late Buddhist leader lined the streets yesterday as a carriage carrying an urn containing his remains was driven through Bangkok.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BANGKOK • Thailand cremated the kingdom's top Buddhist leader yesterday, more than two years after he died, in an elaborate ceremony attended by the Crown Prince.

The funeral pyre was lit by Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, 63, who rarely makes public appearances, but has recently been more in the public eye to highlight his role as the heir apparent amid increasing anxiety over his father's health.

Thousands of people wearing black and holding photos of the late Buddhist leader lined the streets as a carriage carrying an urn containing his remains was driven through the Thai capital Bangkok.

The Supreme Patriarch, Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, died in October 2013 aged 100. He was not cremated until more than two years later, in accordance with customs for royalty and Buddhist leaders.

Thailand's Buddhist clergy has strong links to the royal family. Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara was appointed Supreme Patriarch in 1989 by King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2015, with the headline 'Top Buddhist leader in Thailand cremated'. Print Edition | Subscribe