Photo: Make an offering.

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Erawan Shrine

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Set amid the unabashed materialism of the Siam Square area, streams of visitors come from China, India and throughout Thailand, among others, to offer flower garlands, incense, golden elephants and dance performances to an image of the Hindu god Brahma at the famous Erawan Shrine.

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The shrine’s sordid history begins with the construction of the nearby Erawan Hotel (now the Hyatt) in the 1950s, when a handful of deaths and several other accidents led many workers to quit due to fears that the terrestrial spirits had not been sufficiently placated before building began. As a result, it was thought, the spirits unleashed their anger on the workers.

The centre of all the attention. Photo taken in or around Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

The centre of all the attention. Photo: David Luekens

At the recommendation of an astrologer, a gold-plated, four-faced statue of Phra Phrom (the Thai representation of Brahma) was dedicated on an auspicious date in 1956 to soothe the spirits. Before it was mounted, Buddhist monks and Hindu Brahmans consecrated the statue in elaborate ceremonies. Even the exact minute of its mounting was pre-determined, and afterwards the hotel construction finished smoothly.

Why Brahma? The common Thai form of Buddhism is blended with Hinduism and spirit worship, and Brahma is one of the most highly revered deities throughout the Hindu world. In Thailand, this is evidenced by the placement of Brahma images in the spirit houses that front skyscrapers and humble houses throughout Thailand. In short, Brahma is credited with creating many universes and everything in them, including the earth and human beings, so you can see why he gets so much attention. The shrine was named after the hotel it sits beside, but you won’t find actual images of Erawan, the three-headed elephant and vehicle for Indra in Hindu ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Erawan Shrine overlooks the Ratchaprasong intersection at the corner of Ratchadamri Rd and Rama I Rd. It can be accessed and viewed from the skywalk connecting Chit Lom and Siam BTS stations. It’s open 24 hours a day and admission is free.

Erawan Shrine
Corner of Ratchadamri and Rama I roads, Bangkok
All day, every day

Location map for Erawan Shrine

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