All the Legends, Myths and Mysteries

Kinnairi Image at the Grand Palace
Kinnairi Image at the Grand Palace

Half Woman Half Other Mythical Creatures

The Kinnari or Kinnaree as they are sometimes referred to in Thailand, depict images of young women wearing angel-like costumes. From the waist up they are female but from the waist down they have a body similar to that of a bird. The head, torso and arms are characteristically female with the wings, tail and feet representing a swan-like bird. In other words, their images represent that of a half-woman and a half-bird.

Their wings allow them to fly between the mystical world and the human world. Wouldn’t that be just absolutely wonderful? Perhaps they even managed to get their hands on a Red Bull since the beverage did have its origins in Thailand.

Apsonsi on the other hand, are mythical creatures depicting half-a-woman and half-a-lion, some of which can be seen on the upper terrace of Wat Phra Kaew which forms part of the Grand Palace Complex in Bangkok.

Kinnari at Wat Phra Kaew
Kinnari at Wat Phra Kaew

If all legends are to be believed and from what I understand, these big, bold and beautiful creatures originated from Himavanta, an invisible mythical forest set deep in the Himalayan Mountains. Later, according to Thai literature they were adapted to harmonise with their way of thinking.

The legend also says that these beautiful beasts are renowned dancers and singers. Not only this, but their love of poetry is regarded as a symbol of love, grace, compassion, and accomplishment.

You may be lucky enough to witness one of these legendary tales by attending one of the many traditional Thai performances held throughout Thailand.

Kinnaree at Sanam Luang
Kinnaree at Sanam Luang

The photo above is a sculpture of a Kinnari decorated in the royal crematorium of Princess Galyani Vadhana at Sanam Luang in Bangkok.

The most famous Kinnari is a figure known as Manora entitled Panyasa Chadok.

Looking closely, you’ll be able to spot some magnificent specimens of these images on several paintings and statues at Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace as well as at Wat Arun, to name a few.

Gold Figure Painting at Wat Phra Kaew
Gold Figure Painting at Wat Phra Kaew

More Amazing Mythologies you may like

Garuda is a birdlike creature in Hindu and Buddhist mythology.
Naga is a serpent-like protector of Buddha.
Yaksha appears in the form of a grimacing giant statue.
Makara is an aquatic monster part crocodile, part elephant, and part serpent.
Erawan is a three-headed mythical elephant of Hindu origin. The elephant statue seen in the photo is located in the province of Samut Prakan just outside Bangkok. 
Hongsa is often seen as a glittering five metre tall swan-like figure gracing the prow of a royal barge or perched high at the apex of temple roofs.
Singha has a lion-like figure whose primary function is to guard temples.