The carving of Indra the god, on Erawan Elephant
Phakoh Castle Temple, Nakorn Ratchasima

The Myths
and Legend

of Indra and
Erawan Elephant,
the Protector of Buddhism

In Buddhism Indra is also known as the leader of all heavens, he is known to be the leader of all gods. Erawan means water, rain cloud, rainbow, or lightening. This all signifies Indra using Erawan Elephant as a vehicle, flying across the realm, and give rain to the earth.

The portrait from the Book of Three Worlds
showing Erawan along with Tipwiman and
Dawadeung Heavens

A portrait of Indra on Erawan Elephant
A picture from the Ancient Book of Magic

The myth about Erawan Elephant can be found in many books and literature, some say Shiva gave Indra the elephant as a vehicle. Some say Erawan is a child god living in the realm of heaven. When Indra wish to travel, the child-god will transform into a white elephant in the name of Erawan. In the Vishnubrana Book of Hinduism, Erawan Elephant was one of the magical creatures that were present during an uproar of the seas. This happen when Vishnu came to earth as a turtle name Kuramawatan.

Erawan is an elephant in the size of a mountain, its skin is ivory white. It is an all-powerful creature, the master of all elephants. The Parata Book says "Irawata (Erawan)" has 4 tusks 3 trunks, it is gigantic, and is a white elephant. In The Book of Three Realms states that the size of the Erawan Elephant is unmatched. From all the books, we can gather that Erawan Elephant is a gigantic elephant, it is ivory white, and has 33 heads, each head has 7 tusks and 7 trunks, it is so huge it has lotus flower ponds on it, over 1,617 lotus ponds, 11,319 lotus plants, 79,233 lotus flowers, 554,631 lotus petals, over 3,882,471 angels, and 27,176,919 servants of angels on him in the god realm.

An artist painting of Indra god on Erawan Elephant, this is found inside Sanphen Castle, at the Ancient City. The story tells of an old hermit giving flowers to Indra, who was injured by Erawan by Erawan's dislike of pollen. The hermit got angry and curse the angels surrounding realm to have less power.

The ancient myth has it that the most important duty of the great Erawan Elephant is a service as a vehicle to bring the all-mighty Indra god to a different realm between heaven and earth. He is also the war weapon for good and evil. Indra is the god that is in charge of all weathers of the world and has an enemy as the drought. Erawan who has the power to bring water from the world up to heaven to disperse down to the world again is one of his most important companions. Erawan was able to assist Indra in helping him bring good to the world.

Erawan is considered the master of all elephants in the universe, he is the trusted companion of Indra, and is one of the most significant symbols of Indra. A symbol of abundance and joy. The reason for the popularity in presenting him with three heads was a simplified version for aesthetic.

The portrait of Erawan the mighty circa year 25-26 in Buddhist Calendar.
This portrait is the original inspiration of the Erawan Museum,
now it is collected and shown at Hor-Khum Museum at The Ancient City