Bangkok’s Grand Palace is chock-full of dazzling buildings, without a doubt. But clustered around these buildings are charming statues of mythical creatures – important symbols for Buddhists. However, for most of the tourists who flock here, the creatures are probably just fun to see. For instance, there are pairs of these giants, called yaksas, standing guard outside a few important buildings.
These multi-headed serpents are called nagas, and one of their roles is as protector of Buddha, which explains their position on stairs leading to a temple.
However, these statues are my favorites. They seem to have the legs and tail of a lion, and the upper body of a beautiful woman. I particularly enjoy their appearance as human, and not an idealized god-like creature.
There is also a male form, but since this guy is half chicken, I wonder about his position in the pecking order.
And these stupas are held up by intricately mirrored spirits wearing unique masks.
Given the scale, astounding colors, and details of the buildings, it’s easy to miss these wonderful creatures. But for me, they were an integral part of the experience. Each was museum-piece quality, and speaks volumes about the energy that went into the Palace and its Temples.