Naraphorn Chan-o-cha, wife of Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, accompanied the spouses of six ASEAN leaders, ASEAN ministers and ASEAN ambassadors including those of Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam, attending the 34th ASEAN Summit, on the tour to the National Royal Barge Museum.
Culture Ministry Permanent Secretary Krisayaphong Siri and Department of Fine Arts Director General Anan Chuchote, welcomed the guests.
A department official gave a lecture on the significance of the fleet of 52 royal barges viewed as the world’s only such distinctive collection, and a significant part of the magnificent heritage of Thailand.
The royal barges have been related to the monarchy since the Ayutthaya era. They include the Suphannahong royal barge; Anekachart Phuchong royal barge; Narai Songsuban royal barge and Ananta Nakharat royal barge.
The rowing and singing rituals that take place on a royal barge were demonstrated by navy personnel to the delight of the visitors.
The magnificent show signified the distinctive tradition and long relationship between the Thais and the nation’s rivers.
The visitors paid close attention to the history of each royal barge and were greatly impressed by their beauty.
The Department of Fine Arts and the navy have tended to the royal barges ahead of the upcoming October marine coronation ceremony in which His Majesty the King will travel in a royal barge along the Chao Phraya River and attend a Krathin merit-making ceremony at the Temple of Dawn.
The prime minister’s wife hosted a luncheon for the ASEAN visitors and others following the trip to the museum, at the riverside Shangri-la Hotel.
The guests bought hand-woven garments and viewed demonstrations of handicraft making and ancient Thai dessert preparation by the Royal Traditional Thai Crafts School for Women, and listened to ASEAN songs played on Thai instruments.