Jun 20 2012
Within a city bursting with history and doused with malls, culture comes in many forms. In a Terminal 21 shopping line, in Wat Pho on the river, around the ring of a muay Thai boxing fight. This weekend, I sought out another shade of Bangkok’s cultural mishmash, along the busy streets of the financial district Silom.
My first stop was at Kathmandu Photo Gallery, a charming pre-war shophouse turned gallery with photography both old and new. With stained glass windows and art hanging from every surface, the small gallery feels more like a walk-in curiosity cabinet. The shop is owned by Thai photographer and artist Manit Sriwanichpoom, displaying photography from all regions of South Asia, as well as books and souvenirs to take home.
Upstairs, in an enchanting room with opened French doors, you’ll find the current temporary exhibition. Kathmandu Photo Gallery, despite its alluring ambiance, is not an all-day destination; stop in for a quick peek, or you may want to check their website for exhibition openings, which attract Bangkok’s creative community.
Upon exiting the gallery, you might hear the rhythmic beats of Indian drums blasting from parked cars and convenience stores. The area, flanked by Indian restaurants offering steaming roti, has a high density of South Indian residents. On the corner of Thanon Silom and Thanon Pan sits the awe-inspiring Sri Mahamariamman Temple, informally known as Wat Khaek. The temple was built in the 1860s by immigrants from Tamil Nadu in Southern India, who came to Silom to build a new community. A vibrantly colourful structure with intertwined Hindu deities, the temple walls seem to reach the sky. The main shrine is an homage to Shakti and her sons Subramaniam and Ganesha. With special ceremonies in accordance with the moon cycle, the temple is open to the public to visit every day of the week. Just remember, this is still a place of worship so be respectful and dress appropriately.
If you meander further down Silom Road, past street vendors selling amulets and incense, you can drop into one of the many Indian joints or sweet shops for a lunchtime snack.
87 Pan Road, off Silom Road, Bangkok
T: (02) 234 6700
Open daily 11:00 to 19:00, closed on Monday
BTS: Surasak or Chong Nansi
Sri Mahamariamman Temple
On the corner of Silom and Pan Road, Bangkok
T: (02) 225 7612
Open Mon-Thursday 6:00-20:00, Fri 6:00-21:00, Sat-Sun 6:00-20:30
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