An elephant is a very important and respectful animal in Thailand. There is one Hundi legend that tells why these animals became so popular. Temples are decorated with images of elephants. Travelling on the elephant’s back you may see all signs of Bangkok. They say if to rush under an elephant you will have luck all the time.
Thais built some elephant museums as a sigh of respect. There is National Elephant Museum on the territory of the Royal Palave in Bangkok. It’s not very large building but it has a white elephant statue in real size. It symbolizes wisdom and fertility. White elephants are the most respectful animals.
According to the legend before birth of The Great Buddha his mother saw a dream with a white elephant. The elephant gave her a flower of white lotus because it symbolized wisdom and purity. This animal was on the Siamese flag. Nowadays every Thai worships this animal.
The king built a special place for white elephants. It was in Dusit Garden Palace formerly (now there is Bangkok Zoo) and later in 1988 the museum was moved to Chang-ton Museum.
It consists of two buildings. There are artifacts about elephant’s life (how to catch an animal, how to feed and so on) in one building. The special ceremony when the king gets a white animal takes place in the next building. When a white elephant is found on the territory of Thailand it is given to the king. You may see “royal” animals in this museum. The museum works every day from 9 a.m. till 16 p.m. Price is 5 baht. If you buy a ticket to the Royal Palace you may visit this museum for free.