The picture above is a common temple decoration in Thailand. The large green dragon creature is called a Makara, and the serpents coming out of his mouth are the Naga. It’s really quite amazing how religious mythology travels around Asia, borrowing and reinventing. The makara and the naga are both Hindu originally but like many items from Hindu mythology can be seen making guest appearances in Buddhist practices in other countries. It’s always a humbling experience standing at the steps of a temple looking up at the beasts. It is also a very empowering feeling standing at the top of a temple looking down on the twisting body of such a creature.
This statue was at the Thai Temple in India. Dad explained that it was a statue depicting the forest monks, who use to go out to the woods to meditate and only came down for food. He wasn’t really too sure on that though, and again I didn’t find anyone else who felt like telling me about it. Either way it was a neat statue, and it must have been important for some reason since it was being honored. I’ll update the post if I get more information on him.
Along the Buddhist pilgrimage there are four main points. At those spots (as well as many others) other Buddhist countries have built temples in the area to honor these spots and give pilgrims from their region a place to stop. Thailand has lots of these temples. According to the Indian tour guides Thai tourism to that area has been becoming very popular in the last few years. The temple in Gaya was where we went first so that some of are party could become monks. The Thai style roofs are easily recognizable amongst the skyline of temples as a symbol of home for Thai natives.