Ramakien Gallery

Surrounding the Temple of the Emerald Buddha something like a cloister is the Ramakien gallery. The walls of the gallery are painted with murals depicting scenes from the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Indian epic the Ramayana, which deals, basically, with the triumph of good over evil.

Photos of the Ramakien Gallery from the Grand Palace
Maintenance Work
Some of the constant maintenance work on the gallery

There are 178 panels in all. They were originally painted when the temple was first constructed in 1783, but exposure to the elements requires constant maintenance. You'll note that the architectural elements in the panels, such as palaces and temples, are adapted from the real palaces and temples of the capital.

The Story: The central character of the Ramakien is Rama, heir to the throne of Ayodhaya. Through the schemes of his stepmother, he is sent into exile for 14 years. His wife Sita and brother Lakshman go with him. They find shelter deep in the forest.

Tosakan, the demon king of Longka, develops a passion for Sita and kidnaps her. The brothers go in search of Sita, and enlist the white monkey god Hanuman to help. Working together, they form an alliance with two monkey kings, Sukrip and Chompupan, each of whom command huge armies. They march south to the coast and lay siege to the island of Longka.

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The armies of Rama are victorious over each of Tosakan's champions. Finally, Rama fights Tosakan and kills him. Rama crowns Tosakan's exiled brother king of Longka and returns to Ayodhaya with Sita to assume the crown.