A spectacular procession of royal barges will be on show in Bangkok on 9th November 2012, as part of the Royal Kathin Ceremony. Representing His Majesty the King, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will preside over the ceremony at Wat Arun, or the Temple of Dawn, in Bangkok. He will travel to the temple in a royal barge procession along the Chao Phraya River. The procession consists of 52 traditional style barges arranged in five columns, based on battle formation from ancient times. This is made up of four major royal barges, eight barges with animal figureheads and 40 smaller vessels. The five-column flotilla stretches 1,200 meters in length and 90 across. A total of 2,311 sailors serve as oarsmen.
The bow of the Royal Barge Suphannahong is made into a head of a Royal Swan or Hamsa, painted with gold lacquer and richly decorated with glass ornaments.
The Royal Barge Narai Song Suban H.M. King Rama IX has a figurehead of the god Narai with four arms bearing a trident, a scepter, a discus, and a conch shell on his celestial transport, a Garuda.
The bow of the Royal Barge Anantananakkharat is made into the seven heads of a Naga, gold-lacquered and richly decorated with glass ornaments.
The graceful prow of the Royal Barge Anekkachatphuchong is intricately carved and gilded in a delicate pattern of small Naga figures.
Ekachai Hern How Barge and Ekachai Lao Thong Barge are Reua Ku Chak to lead and tow the Royal Barge Suphannahong in case it demands extra driving power. Both barges are gold-lacquered with the tapering column figureheads of a cross between a crocodile and Naga known as Hera.
Krut Hern Het and Krut Tret Traichak are Garuda barges with a painted and gilded figurehead of a Garuda holding a Naga, one in each of his hands and feet. A red body is Krut Hern Het and a pink body is Krut Tret Traichak.
Pali Rang Thawip and Sukrip Khrong Mueang are Krabi Barges with crown figureheads of Monkey Warlords, carved and gilded with a green body of Pali and a red body of Sukrip, respectively.
Krabi Ran Ron Rap and Krabi Prao Mueang Man are Krabi Barges with uncrowned figureheads of Monkey Warriors, carved and gilded with a black body of Nilaphat and a white body of Hanuman, respectively.
Asura Vayuphak and Asura Paksi are Asura Barges with carved and gilded figureheads of Ogre-faced birds. Asura Vayuphak’s face, hands and feet are indigo in colour with a purple coat. Asura Paksi’s face, hand and feet are green in colour with a coat of a purple front and green back.
Seua Thayan Chon and Seua Kamron Sin are tiger barges of the Reua Phiket class. The hull is ungilded but painted in the colour and style of a tiger’s body and with a tiger’s head painted on the bow.