|photo courtesy TiminPhuket - Wat Srisoonthorn|
In Thailand, you often see statues of Yaksha at or near the entrance to many Buddhist temples or “Wats”.
They are placed there to protect the temple from devils and evil spirits.
The Yaksha or “Yuk” (as they are referred to in Thai) is a Giant Demon from Thailand’s national epic “Ramakien”, which is derived from famous Hindu epic Ramayana. Although Thailand is a Buddhist country the Hindu mythology latent in the Ramakien supports beliefs from Thai animism – which was practiced by the nation prior to the arrival of Buddhism. There are a total of twelve different types of Yuks in the Thai version.
Yuks are armed with a weapon of some sort and are always an imposing sight. Some are so imposing that they actually scare many a tourist. The most prominent Yuks can be seen at The Emerald Buddha Temple or The Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) in Bangkok - places that should be on your “must see” list when visiting Bangkok, along with all the places that the tourists don't go of course.
Twelve Yuks were constructed for Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok to reflect the airport’s grandeur. However, rumour has it that they were removed from the Arrivals area because they were obstructing the fortunes of the shopkeepers there!