Lying in state
The palace is used as a place where Thai kings and other high ranking members of the ruling royal family were left to lay in state before being cremated.
The Grand Palace is divided into two main zones. The first is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the second is the royal residence. The royal residence is further divided into three areas: the Outer Court, the Middle Court and the Inner Court.
The Outer Court
The Outer Court starts at the Wiset Chai Si Gate and extends to the Phiman Chai Si Gate. This section includes the inner walls of the palace. It is now where you will find several state offices.
The Middle Court
The Middle Court extends from the Phiman Chai Si Gate as far as the Sanam Ratchakit Gate. In this area of the Grand Palace significant royal ceremonies are held such as Royal Coronations and the ceremony conducted on such a historic auspicious day.
The Inner Court
The Inner Court begins at the Sanam Ratchakit Gate through to Thaew Teng. These are the row of houses which at one time during the reign of King Rama I were the palace walls. The southern area within the Inner Court was at that time a female-only zone. The only man allowed to enter was the king. This area housed the queens, the ladies in waiting, consorts, their mothers and the kings daughters all lived together with servants. This area today is no longer used as a residence.
The Grand Palace
The entire complex of the Grand Palace was completed in 1782. It combines an area of 218,000 square metres and is surrounded by four walls measuring a length of 1,900 metres in total. Prior to this the royal palace had been at Thonburi. The new king Rama I felt the former capital to be unsuitable and ordered the construction of a new complex.
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha
This temple is located in the Outer Palace. The tradition of constructing a Buddhist temple inside a royal palace has existed in Thailand for more than 800 years since the Sukhotkai period. One unique aspect of this temple is that it has no living quarters for its Buddhist monks.