Maryam Rahimi Blogs!
Erawan Museum is the art of gigantic architecture; the outstanding, the eye catching, the blending of fine arts and decorative arts in interior design. This three headed elephant structure is surrounded by the Himmapan garden where it attracts thousands of tourists annually. However, the Erawan Museum is not only the museum where collects and transmits the knowledge of art, religion, and culture. The aim of this elephant is to be the representative on the greatness of Suvarnabhumi as also a symbol of the Kingdom of Siam.
For a museum so far out in the suburbs of Bangkok and away from all other main attracts, it took me by a surprise! The design and intricate art work is simply spectacular!
Erawan Museum is a learning tool in art and religion that inspires people to understand the principles of four religions with the intention and ideology of Khun Lek Viriyabhun; to transmit and indoctrinate with the spirit of the philosopher for the purpose of introducing the art and culture; root of eastern civilization, to all humankind.
Erawan Museum is the door opening to the heritage of Thai culture. With a wide range of architectural symbols combined with fine arts and craftsmanship, structural layout and natural environment that integrate harmoniously, this museum creates a kind of atmosphere that induces visitors to perceive and appreciate the continuity of history, cultures, religions, arts and customs of faith.
A highly successful, slightly eccentric, businessman ordered the construction of a monumental building sculpted in the shape of the three-headed elephant Airavata ridden by the Hindu god Indra. The businessman was Lek Viriyapant, who was also responsible for conceiving the Ancient City and Sanctuary of Truth.
Millions of tiny tiles enameled in the fashion of Thai Benjarong ceramics.
On the top level of this magnificent structure, rests a celestial chapel displaying more ancient Buddha statues. With its light blue and gold decorated walls following the contour of the elephant, the chapel has a rather ethereal feel.
The first floor represents the underworld and it is well described by these miniature sculptures throughout the main floor
The giant elephant sits in a large garden full of ponds and fountains laid out in several Asian styles. More, albeit smaller, fanciful creatures decorate the gardens and water features.
The massive three headed elephant made of bronze weighs 250 tons, is 29 metres high, 39 metres long and stands on a 15 meter high pedestal
Mythical Garden - The landscape around Erawan Museum is made into a well-trimmed botanical garden with flower plants mentioned in Thai literature and rare plants from different places around the country. It is intended to create a resourceful place for botanical study. The motif of the garden derived from Himmapan mythical garden, taken from Buddhist and Hindu legends.
The legendary Himmapan Forest is a vast deep forest and the holy land at the top of mountain which appears in Buddhist literature, “Trai Bhumikatha”. It is believed that the universe consists of hell, world and heaven. In this garden, the mythical creations are decorated with Benjarong adorned stucco.
Himmapan animals is an imaginary animal living in Himmapan forest. They are created with inspiration from the stories in scriptures that influenced by both Brahman – Hindu and Buddhism. Normal human cannot see Himmapan animals because they are magical so that the characteristic of Himmapan animals is different from natural animal. Their elements is beyond ordinary such as a combination of humans and animals or a combination of animals together becomes Himmapan animals with exquisitely appearance. Some of them has supernatural power such as elephant or horse with wings and be able to fly like a bird and so on.
The Erawan Museum has become a popular place for local Thais to make offerings in order to receive divine "help" with certain matters. The story goes that one day a young girl prayed to the giant statue just before buying what turned out to be a winning lottery ticket. The story has spread, and now many Thais come just to make offerings at the pavilion in front of the statue.
Coming Up, Vietnam!
My crazy drinking and eating adventures in Vietnam, coming up soon!
Saigon, Vietnam, from up top!