Holy water from Indian rivers to be presented to Thai king

Water from five sacred rivers in India are to be brought to King Bhumibol Adulyadej as part of upcoming celebrations marking his 60th year on the Thai throne, local news reports said Tuesday.

The celebrations will climax in June when members of royal families from 27 countries, including 15 heads of state, will be treated to elaborate ceremonies, including a procession of traditional royal barges.

Brahmin priests from Thailand are to fly to India to collect water from the Ganges, Yamuna, Saraswati, Komati and Saryu rivers, and begin a series of rituals at Bangkok temples beginning in late April, according to The Nation newspaper quoting the Religious Affairs Department. The holy water will be presented to Bhumibol, the country's highly-revered constitutional monarch, on May 5.

While most Thais adhere to Buddhism, Hinduism, which arrived in Thailand more than 2,000 years ago, still permeates the culture and religion. Brahmin priests at the Royal Household perform a number of annual religious rituals.

Buddhists are also planning mass ordinations of monks and Christians will be celebrating a mass in honor of Bhumibol, the world's longest reigning monarch, reports the AP.

I.L.