Monday, November 28, 2011

Ban Ta Klang forest temple Wat Pa Ar Jiang and elephant cemetery

On the outskirts of the elephant village in Ban Ta Klang, is the elephant forest temple Wat Pa Ar Jiang, which was founded around 2005. At this temple a baby elephant was born in September 2001.

Those two elephants doesn not belong to the temple, however.

Just recently one of the elephants belonging to the temple, Pang Toom, died. Now the temple has only one elephant, Plai Chompoon, who stays in the elephant village.

Close to the temple is the office and residence for the head Buddhist monk.

Head monk Pra Ar Jahn Han, is 59 years and he belonged to the Salangam family before coming a monk.

Before becoming a monk, he was also a mahout, attending elephants belonging to his family.One of the first elephants he remember being born in the village was Plai Thongbai.

His family own ten elephants in Ban Ta KLang:
Pang Tongbai, Cam Lay, Pak Boun, Phen, Pang Ploy, Pang Naam Choo, Pang Tong Suk, Pang Do.Do, Plai Chompun, and Chompuns and Pang Tongbais son Plai Songkran.

Around 1990, a couple of elephants was buried within this area, later more was added, and around 2005 their tombs was officially declared an elephant grave yard by Pra Ar Jahn Han.

This is probably one of the first officially elephant cemeteries in the world.
Beside the elephant cemetery, theres a sign with list of names of elephants, and their owners.
In November 2011, 70 elephants had been buried here.

When an elephant has died, a ceremony called Bangsakun is held, for the spirit of the elephant.

After this, the body is buried in sand, where it stays for a couple of years, so insects can clean it, until the bones are free.

One the picture to the right, the temples elephant Pang Toom, is being buried.

During a second ceremony, hip bones, cranium and other bones are brought to the elephant cemetery, and laid to rest in a specially designed tomb.

A new Arawan pavillion is being erected since 2009, at a cost of 30 million Bahts. Arawan is the three-headed elephant in the Hindu religion. Arawan stays in the second heaven, guarded by the god Indra.

At the bottom floor, theres an entrance to a cave, where children and sinners can fllow a track in the cave, where they learn about what happends, when and if, they live a sinful life.

The higher platforms will later include sections with the statue of Erawan, and even a watch tower where visitors can overlook the nearest area including the elephant village and the river.

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