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Thu 23 Mar 2017
The Three-headed Elephant
Written by Gor   
Tuesday, 20 April 2004 00:00

If you have ever been to my hometown, Paknam in Samut Prakan province, I bet you definitely would have seen our new tourist attraction along Sukhumwit Road. You would have to be blind or sleeping if you didn’t see it, as it’s a massive three-headed elephant which is about the same height as a 15-storey building!

It’s not really finished yet but there are quite a few people visiting this place every day, especially on the day before the 1st and the 16th of the month, as it is the day before the lottery numbers are announced. Really, a few years ago, this place wasn’t that popular. There was only a small shrine outside the front gates. But then something happened.

I remember reading about it in the newspapers. A woman had won a few million baht in the lottery. She said she had come to visit the elephant and wished for good luck and it had come true. After it was in the newspaper, hundreds of people started coming every day.

I went to visit the shrine myself the other day, after my last run of bad luck. I paid respect at the shrine and made a wish for something really important, which wasn’t about money but more of a family and life thing.

After I had finished, I decided to walk around the museum. I went to buy a ticket. A pretty schoolgirl, who was also a guide, came up to me and volunteered to show me around. I was thinking about saying “no” to her but I changed my mind after I heard she said the word “free!”

The guide first led me down to the basement below the elephant. Here, there is a museum of all the antiques and other things that the owner has collected over the years. There was also some information and pictures about the elephant. Apparently, the three-headed elephant has an outer layer of pure copper. The elephant itself weighs about 250 tons and is 29 metres high from its head to its foot.

What I didn’t know was that the three-headed elephant was ridden by the Hindu God Indra. Also, the elephant really should have 33 heads but most people find it hard to draw or sculpt that many heads. So, that is why you usually only see three heads!

To be honest with you, the antiques and pottery didn’t really interest me. After a quick walk around, I went upstairs to the building, which the elephant stood on. This was certainly the highlight of my tour. I think this is probably the only museum in the world where the building is more beautiful and interesting than the contents on display!

In front of me were two winding staircases that went up and up to a massive stained glass window in the roof. Underneath the staircase I could see a very long sea serpent. So, when you walk up the stairs it is like you are walking up its back. Wherever I looked, I saw so many beautiful and colourful designs.

At the top of the staircase, I got into a lift which took us up the back left leg of the elephant! We finally came out into the belly. There was a big room with a map of the universe on the ceiling. At the far end, and on each side, there were Buddha statues. I sat down and paid respect to the main Buddha image.

The tour finished after about one hour. I followed the guide out and went to get my shoes. She patted me on my shoulder and said that everything is going to be fine. She also told me to keep smiling. I looked at her face and gave her a big smile. I hadn’t told her why I had come. It looks like I am not the first person to come here when something has gone wrong in their life.

As I was leaving, I looked back up to the elephant one last time and smiled, hoping my wish was going to come true.