One of the more interesting things I have done since we have been here was to visit the Erawan Statue located near the Erawan Hyatt Hotel on Sukhumvit at Ratchadamri. The sign at the entrance to the shrine says;
“At the end of the year in 1955, the Union of Thai Hotel and Tourism Company Ltd, the founder of the Erawan Hotel was told by rear Admiral Luang Suwichanphet, who specialized in astrology, that the original moment for laying the foundation stone of the Erawan Hotel was not really right auspicious moment. It must be corrected by building a shrine of the Thao Maha Brahma and a spirit house in the Area of the hotel. Then a shrine with the designed and sculpted by Mr. Chit Phimkowit, a sculptor of the fine arts department. It was brought to enshrine ther since the 9th November 1956 and a worship ceremony of the image has been held on the 9th November of every year.”
With such an inception one could be forgiven for assuming that the statue would soon come to be a pigeon roost or worse. But such is not the case. Every day, supplicants from all over Bangkok and the world make their way to this spot to ask favors from the Brahma. They leave strings of flowers and burn incense. The Brahma as seen today has four faces. Interestingly Brahma originally had five faces, but in a fit of rage brought on by a disrespectful speech he gave Siva, another god with three eyes, opened his third eye and burned Brahma’s fifth face to cinders leaving only the four faces you see today. Hmmmmm.
The Brahma is said to grant favors to any who ask, and those to whom favors are granted, often leave gifts like the elephants you see here.
This shrine is big business. Booths are set up for a couple of blocks to sell flower strings, elephant statues and other gifts to leave the Brahma. It is a heavily repeat business too as I happened to be present when the crew came out to remove the gifts left by the early visitors to make room for the later guests. Hmmmmmm.
You can also pay the dancers to dance for any length of time you can afford to help your requests get heard even better. And if you are feeling particularly magnanimous, you might want to purchase one of these little birds which are captured specifically for the purpose of being released to give the worshiper a feeling of blessing. Hmmmmmmm.
This is a really cool culture over here. Very different from my Judeo Christian upbringing. I felt sort of strange taking pics of these folks as they carried out their worship and made requests of the creator as they understand him. But I turned my flash off and no one seemed to mind. If you want to read more about the Erawan, take a jump to this website. There are also more pics at my photo album, under Thailand/Erawan at this link.
Can’t wait for my trip to the reclining Budda.