Rama IX mourned at Big Buddha Hill lantern festival

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Thousands of people mourned HM the late King at the 4th Khao Chee Chan lantern festival.

Chonburi Deputy Gov. Chai­chan Eimcharoen opened the Dec. 16 event with Vice Adm Pongsak Phuriroj, president of the Khao Chee Chan Cliff Carving Foundation, and Sattahip District Chief Noraset Sritapatso.

This year’s Khao Chee Chan lantern festival was dedicated to HM the late King.
This year’s Khao Chee Chan lantern festival was dedicated to HM the late King.

While held annually, this year’s festival was dedicated to King Rama IX. Residents and officials joined to sing the royal anthem followed by a series of the late monarch’s compositions.

A highlight was the singing of “Tonmai Kong Poh” by Maj. Santi Lunpae, a national music artist, backed by the Royal Thai Navy band.

The festival originally was organized to worship Khao Chi Chan, where the Buddha’s image is sculpted into the mountain.

Khao Chi Chan, at first, was cracked during a construction project. Phra Yan Sang Worn later suggested the idea of making it the largest Buddha image in Thailand to celebrate the 50th anniversary of His Majesty King Rama IX’s ascension to the throne.

The Buddha sits in the style of Pang Man Wichai as Phrawarachabopit.