The Erawan Museum In Bangkok (Part 2)

Posted by : foongpc | Thursday, June 6, 2013 | Published in

ADVERTISEMENT


Continued from Part 1

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.

 photo P1190402_zps7aee1ca7.jpg

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.

 photo P1190405_zps05b93546.jpg

There were fairies-like statues sitting by the staircase railings.

 photo P1190409_zpsd7529338.jpg

This is one of the statues.

 photo P1190408_zpsb3195516.jpg

Below the statue is this carving which to me, looks like a great piece of art!

 photo P1190411_zps7bca6b38.jpg

The Guan Yin image in the centre flanked by more fairies-like statues.

 photo P1190413_zps47eb6064.jpg

One of the statues playing a musical instrument.

 photo P1190418_zps965146e8.jpg

Colorful lotus flowers below the Guan Yin statue.

 photo P1190419_zps819ce060.jpg

Sculpture of the naga human which is half serpent.

 photo P1190422_zps16b6ac26.jpg

My friend and I walked up the staircase while admiring the carvings and detailed ornamentations along the way.

 photo P1190424_zpsef137438.jpg

A magnificent carving on one of the four pillars.

 photo P1190425_zps0a1730f4.jpg

The staircase itself was beautifully decorated. The stained glass ceiling appeared bigger and clearer as we ascended the stairs.

 photo P1190428_zps5f1cd835.jpg

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.

 photo P1190429_zpse3ec5478.jpg

This dazzling stained glass ceiling, designed by the late German artist Jakob Schwarzkoph, depicts the world map and various zodiac imageries.

 photo P1190447_zps9b65c6d5.jpg

Not sure what is this exactly but it was definitely an attention grabber.

 photo P1190430_zpsa8a78c1a.jpg

So people throw coins into the bowl inside the creature's mouth?

 photo P1190431_zpsf7b368df.jpg

Beautiful carvings on the pillar depicting the Buddha.

 photo P1190434_zps81d9c73b.jpg

Took a snapshot from up here looking down. Pretty awesome, don't you think?

 photo P1190441_zpsfeb73249.jpg

Can you see the snake crawling up from behind?

 photo P1190439_zps1b7d7ea8.jpg

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?

 photo P1190440_zpse681eeb6.jpg

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.

 photo P1190448_zps15db9f0d.jpg

These were images on the wall on our way up.

 photo P1190449_zps5ef11c7c.jpg

Beautiful lights at the ceiling above us.

 photo P1190450_zpse04ac6df.jpg

But before we reached the third level, we entered an area with a somewhat Chinese-looking painting flanked by two lovely Chinese vases.

 photo P1190451_zps822bf33e.jpg

On the opposite side was a small window.

 photo P1190453_zps6fb3623f.jpg

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?

 photo P1190454_zpsb6f5b45f.jpg

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.

 photo P1190459_zps908aab12.jpg

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.

 photo P1190461_zpsafee2157.jpg

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.

 photo P1190462_zpsd4a4b947.jpg

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.

 photo P1190465_zpse7e49639.jpg

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.

 photo P1190466_zps2c63aacb.jpg

The place was almost dream-like. Surreal, like in a fantasy world. It was honestly, quite breathtaking to me.

 photo P1190470_zpsb240d8da.jpg

After spending some time in the Elephant's belly, my friend and I walked back down the spiral staircase.

 photo P1190475_zpsfab2c8c8.jpg

On the way down, there were more still more things to see. Love this beautiful carvings on the wall near the ceiling!

 photo P1190476_zps3ba560ee.jpg

There were so many images on the four pillars that it would be impossible for me to take photos of them all!

 photo P1190477_zps679b1e40.jpg

Images of elephants' heads lined the stair railings.

 photo P1190478_zpse4ce5e03.jpg

Here's a magnified image.

 photo P1190479_zps69e5c235.jpg

Interesting close-up images on the glass stained ceiling.

 photo P1190480_zps1d6c12e9.jpg

More exquisite carvings...

 photo P1190482_zpsc9e1c22c.jpg

Nagas or serpents

 photo P1190486_zps16884999.jpg

Having descended back to the ground floor, we walked towards the back behind the Guan Yin shrine.

 photo P1190516_zps588c31cb.jpg

The architecture and design of this Museum were a feast to the eyes.

 photo P1190495_zps0f24724b.jpg

Right below the winding staircase, I saw some really beautiful structures that were simply stunning.

 photo P1190491_zpsc012463b.jpg

And then I saw that creature. Was it a dragon?

 photo P1190497_zps8a2fa966.jpg

A close-up shot of this seemingly mythical creature.

 photo P1190498_zps2e472674.jpg

More intricate carvings could be seen here.

 photo P1190496_zps2c761a4c.jpg

Impressive!

 photo P1190500_zpsf8121893.jpg

5-headed Nagas carvings.

 photo P1190501_zps4952b422.jpg

This looks pretty interesting.

 photo P1190502_zps2596e48b.jpg

Then I saw something awesome. Take a look!

 photo P1190507_zpsfad33665.jpg

Ceramic spoons used as part of the artistic decoration. Wow!

 photo P1190509_zpsa21d6a8b.jpg

And these were awesome too!

 photo P1190505_zpsea3f8f60.jpg

They were actually ceramic bowls!

 photo P1190506_zpse87fc7f0.jpg

Another pretty carvings I came across.

 photo P1190511_zps0cfa37df.jpg

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.

 photo P1190530_zpsd73d100b.jpg

But it was not time to leave just yet! There's still the tropical flower garden surrounding the Museum awaiting us!

 photo P1190527_zps6b518209.jpg

To be continued ....