Sure, the shiny gold buildings, freaky demon statues, and annoying Korean tourists at Wat Phra Kaew, the royal temple of Bangkok, were plenty fun, but what really did it for me were the fantastic murals that cover the entire inner wall. What exactly is going on, or what saga it is based on, I have no idea, but I do know that I want Peter Jackson to make a movie version of it, starting tomorrow.
Thailand’s popular national epic Ramakien is derived from the Hindu epic. In Ramakien, Sita is the daughter of Ravana and Mandodari (T’os’akanth (=Dasakand) and Mont’o). Vibhisana (P’ip’ek), the astrologer brother of Ravana, predicts calamity from the horoscope of Sita. So Ravana has her thrown into the waters, who, later, is picked by Janaka (Janok). While the main story is identical to that of the Ramayana, many other aspects were transposed into a Thai context, such as the clothes, weapons, topography, and elements of nature, which are described as being Thai in style. It has an expanded role for Hanuman and he is portrayed as a lascivious character. Ramakien can be seen in an elaborate illustration at the Wat Phra Kaew temple in Bangkok.
You can read an English translation of the Ramakien online here.
These images cannot be appreciated in such a small space, so please click on them for a larger file.