Antique Thai Style Bronze Erawan Airavata or Elephant Statue - 23cm/9" Tall

Erawan: A Multifaceted Symbol in Thai Culture


Erawan, also known as Airavata, is a multifaceted symbol deeply entrenched in Thai culture and spirituality. Revered in both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Erawan is a mythical white three-headed elephant, representing not only a celestial mount but also a symbol of power, auspiciousness, and cultural significance. This Blog delves into the various aspects of Erawan and its role in Thai culture and spirituality.

Mythological Origins

Erawan's roots are traced to Hindu mythology, where he is known as Airavata, the divine mount of Lord Indra, the king of the gods. Airavata is described as a magnificent and powerful elephant with three heads, each representing the qualities of wisdom, strength, and kindness. In Hinduism, Erawan symbolizes the attributes of an ideal ruler and embodies the divine power of Lord Indra.

Cultural Significance in Thailand

In Thailand, Erawan holds a unique position as a symbol of great importance. The elephant has been integral to Thai culture, history, and society for centuries. The elephant is Thailand's national symbol and has played a vital role in the country's traditions, labor, and warfare.

Thai Erawan

Erawan Shrine

One of the most prominent manifestations of Erawan's significance in Thai culture is the Erawan Shrine, a Hindu shrine located in the heart of Bangkok. The shrine is dedicated to the deity Phra Phrom, a Thai representation of Lord Brahma, the creator god in Hinduism. At the Erawan Shrine, people offer prayers, flowers, and incense to seek blessings, particularly in matters of wealth, success, and good fortune. The shrine has become a focal point for devotees, locals, and tourists alike, underscoring Erawan's enduring importance.

The White Elephant in Thai Royalty

Erawan's significance extends to the Thai monarchy, where the white elephant, particularly the rare and auspicious albino elephant, is regarded as a symbol of royal power and prestige. Thai kings have historically possessed and revered white elephants, with their ownership signifying the ruler's divine mandate and connection to the heavens.

Erawan in Buddhism

Erawan's symbolism is not limited to Hinduism; it also finds a place in Thai Buddhism. The three heads of Erawan can be interpreted to represent the Buddha's teachings, which are the core of Buddhist wisdom and compassion. In this context, Erawan embodies the idea of achieving enlightenment through wisdom, compassion, and strength.

Auspiciousness and Prosperity

Erawan is often associated with auspiciousness and prosperity. In Thai culture, the elephant symbolizes good luck, and the Erawan Shrine is a place where people seek blessings for their endeavors and well-being. Whether it's for personal success, financial stability, or protection, Erawan's representation is a source of hope and aspiration.


Erawan, the celestial three-headed elephant, holds a unique and multifaceted place in Thai culture and spirituality. From its origins in Hindu mythology to its presence in Buddhism and its significance in Thai royalty, Erawan embodies a powerful symbol of wisdom, strength, and kindness.

It stands as a symbol of hope, auspiciousness, and cultural significance, connecting the people of Thailand to their rich spiritual and historical heritage. The Erawan Shrine in Bangkok serves as a testament to the enduring reverence and cultural vitality of Erawan in the hearts of the Thai people.

Khmer Erawan