Asia

White elephants, mahouts pay respects to late Thai king

  • Mourners lead a procession of 11 white elephants outside the Grand Palace in honor of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. King Bhumibol died on Oct. 13 after reigning for 70 years, plunging the country into grief and extended mourning. The official mourning period is one year. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

    Mourners lead a procession of 11 white elephants outside the Grand Palace in honor of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. King Bhumibol died on Oct. 13 after reigning for 70 years, plunging the country into grief and extended mourning. The official mourning period is one year. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)  (The Associated Press)

  • Visitors take photos as mahouts lead a procession of 11 white elephants outside the Grand Palace in honor of the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. King Bhumibol died on Oct. 13 after reigning for 70 years, plunging the country into grief and extended mourning. The official mourning period is one year. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

    Visitors take photos as mahouts lead a procession of 11 white elephants outside the Grand Palace in honor of the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. King Bhumibol died on Oct. 13 after reigning for 70 years, plunging the country into grief and extended mourning. The official mourning period is one year. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)  (The Associated Press)

  • Mahouts lead a procession of 11 white elephants past the Grand Palace in honor of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. King Bhumibol died on Oct. 13 after reigning for 70 years, plunging the country into grief and extended mourning. The official mourning period is one year. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

    Mahouts lead a procession of 11 white elephants past the Grand Palace in honor of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. King Bhumibol died on Oct. 13 after reigning for 70 years, plunging the country into grief and extended mourning. The official mourning period is one year. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)  (The Associated Press)

Tens of thousands of mourners have paid their respects to Thailand's late king at the Grand Palace where his body has been kept before the cremation. A different kind of visitor appeared in front of the palace gates Tuesday.

Some 200 mahouts leading nine, specially chosen white elephants and two white-painted elephants arrived at the palace from around the country.

The tusked giants and their riders kneeled in front of the palace gates in a sign of respect for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej while the royal anthem was played on a lone trumpet.

Mourners waiting to enter the palace cried as they witnessed the elephants' prostrating.

In Thailand, the white elephant is regarded as sacred and a symbol of royal power.