Waiting for a favourable sign from the Royal Astrologers before cremation, the body of King Sisavang Vong of Laos had been preserved in Formaldehyde inside a sandalwood coffin for eighteen months.
LV Procession from Palace
MV Royal musicians
MV From musicians PAN to chief monk on palanquin
MV Pall bearers, PAN to hearse
MV King Savang Vatthana and Queen behind hearse
MV Prince Boun Oum and Princess
LV Procession reaching cremation ground
LV Hearse and procession
MV Women light candles at foot of bier
MV Public pay homage
LV From top of bier to crowd paying homage
MV Public pay homage, TILT up to burning coffin
LV Burning coffin
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Background: Waiting for a favourable sign from the Royal Astrologers before cremation, the body of King Sisavang Vong of Laos had been preserved in Formaldehyde inside a sandalwood coffin for eighteen months. Eventually the last week of April was decided upon, and in the midst of the critical situation facing the nation, leaders gathered in Luang Prabang for the final rites.
Scenes of ancient pageantry were seen in the city as the funeral procession, led by Royal Musicians, made its sedate way to the ornate pavilion where the cremation took place. Behind the hearse walked the present monarch, King Savang Vatthana, and his Queen; Prince Boun Oum, the Prime Minister; and Minister for Defence, General Phouni Nosevan. Distinguished foreign guests included Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Chief of State of neighbouring Cambodia; Prince Wan of Thailand; and Admiral Ortili of France.
At the cremation grounds thousands of Laotians had gathered to pay their final respects. They burnt candles at the foot of the steep flight of steps leading up to the urn-like coffin perched high up in the magnificently adorned pavilion. Homage over, the furnace was lit and King Sisavang Vong's spirit was finally despatched to Nirvana - the Buddhist heaven.