As I entered the Hall of the Erawan Museum, I was stunned to see the stained glass ceiling which reminded me more of Christianity than Buddhism or Hinduism.
This is the second level of the Museum actually - the first being the Underworld in the Buddhist cosmos located at the basement which my friend and I visited earlier. This second level represents the human realm in the Buddhist universe, or Mount Meru, which is the centre of the Hindu universe.
There were four pillars surrounding the centrepiece where a small statue of Guan Yin or Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion stood. The four pillars were embellished with detailed carvings depicting scenes from Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity.
There were fairies-like statues sitting by the staircase railings.
This is one of the statues.
Below the statue is this carving which to me, looks like a great piece of art!
The Guan Yin image in the centre flanked by more fairies-like statues.
One of the statues playing a musical instrument.
Colorful lotus flowers below the Guan Yin statue.
Sculpture of the naga human which is half serpent.
My friend and I walked up the staircase while admiring the carvings and detailed ornamentations along the way.
A magnificent carving on one of the four pillars.
The staircase itself was beautifully decorated. The stained glass ceiling appeared bigger and clearer as we ascended the stairs.
Reaching the upper floor, I stopped for a while to admire the ceiling. It's not everyday you see stained glasses in a predominantly Buddhist Bangkok.
This dazzling stained glass ceiling, designed by the late German artist Jakob Schwarzkoph, depicts the world map and various zodiac imageries.
Not sure what is this exactly but it was definitely an attention grabber.
So people throw coins into the bowl inside the creature's mouth?
Beautiful carvings on the pillar depicting the Buddha.
Took a snapshot from up here looking down. Pretty awesome, don't you think?
Can you see the snake crawling up from behind?
The founder of this museum, the late Lek Viriyabhun must have been an amazingly creative visionary for coming up with such psychedelic and surreal works or art that transcends any one religion or culture. I was truly impressed!
It was time to visit the third level of the Museum - representing Tavatimsa Heaven - which was located inside the three-headed Elephant's belly! You can choose to take the lift or the stairs. Even the lift looks beautiful, no?
Anyway, my friend and I both decided to take the stairs. It was a narrow spiral staircase that, I was told, passes right through the right hind leg of the Elephant.
These were images on the wall on our way up.
Beautiful lights at the ceiling above us.
But before we reached the third level, we entered an area with a somewhat Chinese-looking painting flanked by two lovely Chinese vases.
On the opposite side was a small window.
From this small window, you can get a nice view of the surrounding highways outside. Can you see the shadow of one of the three-headed Elephant's trunks?
From this area, there's a staircase leading up to the third level of the Museum - the Tavatimsa Heaven - right inside the Elephant's belly.
The ambience was cool and dark with a standing gold Buddha glowing in dim blue light. The curved wall and ceiling, which I thought was really beautiful, were like abstract paintings probably depicting the sun, moons, constellations and the eternal cosmos.
Portions of relics of the Lord Buddha were also found here along with many encased display of ancient Buddha images from different periods and places throughout Asia.
I wanted to take photos of the encased Buddha statues but was stopped by a person in charge. It appears that photography is not allowed for all the Buddha images and relics.
There were quite a number of people praying in front of the Buddha shrine but I waited for many of them to leave before taking this shot.
The place was almost dream-like. Surreal, like in a fantasy world. It was honestly, quite breathtaking to me.
After spending some time in the Elephant's belly, my friend and I walked back down the spiral staircase.
On the way down, there were more still more things to see. Love this beautiful carvings on the wall near the ceiling!
There were so many images on the four pillars that it would be impossible for me to take photos of them all!
Images of elephants' heads lined the stair railings.
Here's a magnified image.
Interesting close-up images on the glass stained ceiling.
More exquisite carvings...
Nagas or serpents
Having descended back to the ground floor, we walked towards the back behind the Guan Yin shrine.
The architecture and design of this Museum were a feast to the eyes.
Right below the winding staircase, I saw some really beautiful structures that were simply stunning.
And then I saw that creature. Was it a dragon?
A close-up shot of this seemingly mythical creature.
More intricate carvings could be seen here.
5-headed Nagas carvings.
This looks pretty interesting.
Then I saw something awesome. Take a look!
Ceramic spoons used as part of the artistic decoration. Wow!
And these were awesome too!
They were actually ceramic bowls!
Another pretty carvings I came across.
After spending about 45 minutes inside the Erawan Museum, it was time to leave. This is the view from outside one of the exit doors.
But it was not time to leave just yet! There's still the tropical flower garden surrounding the Museum awaiting us!
To be continued ....