Elephants have always been of great importance to Thai culture. At one time they were used in royalty, religion, military and forestry work. There is an old legend in Thai culture about a three-headed elephant. There is even a museum in Erawan in Thailand that shows a status that takes the form of this legend.
The importance of elephants in Thailand
Elephants have always had a special place in the lives of Thai people. In the past, they worshipped elephants as kings or gods. Time has passed and nowadays elephants are used to work in the fields and for tourism purposes. Elephants carry their young in their bellies for 22 months, and once they reach the age of 3 to 5 years, the young are apprenticed for five years. During this apprenticeship, the calves are taught to work in the fields, to swim and also to walk in single file. Once grown up, the elephants work until they are 61 years old, because in Thailand, the law requires that elephants retire and must be released at that age.
Thai mythology and the three-headed elephant
According to Thai culture and religion, elephants represent a deity. They can be found everywhere, whether in temples, on flags, as pendants or other things. In the Hindu religion, you can find the god Ganesh, the one with an elephant head. He is very famous in Thailand, but also in India. Ganesh is the god of knowledge and virtue, and is called by believers to bring them luck. Among this mythology, there is also Erawan, the three-headed elephant. Erawan is a white elephant known as the host of the god Indra. He can be represented by an elephant with several heads.
The Erawan Museum in Thailand
The Erawan Museum was built as a gigantic statue of Erawan the three-headed elephant. Indeed, this museum aims to keep Thai tradition and art alive. The statute of the elephant measures 29 meters and weighs approximately 250 tons of which 150 tons for the body and 100 tons for the heads. Inside and outside the elephant’s heads, there is a place of prayer. It is rumoured that worshippers’ wishes are granted when they pray there.