On April 6, 2019, across the nation was the gathering of waters to be blessed and used for the sacred water in the Royal Coronation Ceremony. This process took place in all 76 provinces, with consecration rites for the collected waters held at major temples in respective provinces for the following two days.
In Phuket, sacred water was drawn from the well at Wat Chalong, officially called Wat Chaiyathararam, because the temple well was dug during the time when the deeply revered Phra Visutthiwongsajarn Yanmunee (better known as the historical figure Luang Por Chaem) was abbot.
Many local people believe that the well is sacred and that its water is able to heal people. This same well was also used for the Royal Coronation ceremony for King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX).
At 11:52am that day, Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana led the ceremony by drawing water from the well and pouring it into a five-litre golden bowl called a Kan Sakon.
The Kan Sakon lid was then closed and covered with a blessed white cloth tied with a white ribbon. The water was then carried by procession to Wat Prathong in Thalang.
The water remained at Wat Prathong for two days of blessing ceremonies, until 1pm on April 9. During the ceremonies, the Governor decanted water from the Kan Sakon into a Kan Tor – a royal ceramic urn handmade especially for the Royal Coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
At 5pm that day, the Governor and his entourage and police escort departed the temple by motorcade, accompanying the water all the way to Royal Palace in Bangkok. Governors in other provinces performed the same rituals and departed their respective revered temples at the same time, though arriving in the capital over the next two days (April 10-11).
On April 12, from 1pm to 2:09pm, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration performed a water consecration rite at Ho Sattrakhom in the Grand Palace and transferred the consecrated water to the Ministry of Interior to combine it with waters from the provinces.
On April 18 at 5:30pm, the waters from 76 provinces and Bangkok were combined and taken from the Ministry of Interior to be blessed through another consecration rite at Wat Suthat, one of Bangkok’s oldest and most important temples.
On April 19, at 7:30am, the sacred water was taken by procession from Wat Suthat to be kept at the ubosot of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, awaiting its use in the performing of Royal Ablutions
The Royal Purification Ceremony is called the “Song Phra Muratha Bhisek”. “Muratha Bhisek” refers to the action of pouring holy water over the head of the King, called Ablution. The whole terminology of “Song Phra Muratha Bhisek” means to offer the sovereignty to a person. According to Brahmanism, before the beginning of any other ritual procedures of the coronation ceremony, the person must be purified through the Ablution.
The water used for Ablution is a mixture of many sacred waters. These waters come from the five main rivers in India and also from Thailand, called the “Bencha Suttha Khongkha”, as well as water drawn from four Sacred Ponds, or Sa in Thai: Sa Ket, Sa Kaeo, Sa Khongkha and Sa Yamuna from Suphanburi.
The “Bencha Suttha Khongkha” river waters, or the Five Pure Streams of Ganga, are used so as to follow the belief in the use of the sacred water from the five main streams from South Asia or Chomphu Thawip in Thai.
The five rivers in Thailand from which water is drawn are the Bang Pakong River in Nakhon Nayok, the Pasak River in Saraburi, the Chao Phraya River, Ratchaburi River in Samut Songkram and the Phetchaburi River.
They are combined purified water taken from various sacred places within the Royal Kingdom, including Phuket, for use in the ceremony.
Also now used in the Ablution Ceremony is the holy water from the Buddhist Chanting Ceremony of the Phra Paritra Suttas session prepared yesterday (May 3).