Erawan Shrine @ Bangkok, Thailand

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Bangkok Thailand

The Erawan Shrine in Bangkok attracts lots of worshipers and believers to pay respects to Phra Phrom God, who is the Thai version of the Hindu God – Thao Maha Brahma, also known commonly as the “Four-Faced Buddha” .    

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Phra Phrom God is commonly worshiped in Thailand as he is linked with prosperity and protection.  I’ve seen many Phra Phrom shrines during my few days in Thailand, mostly in the courtyards of commercial buildings.

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Phra Phrom God at Erawan Shrine is particularly famed because it is thought to be efficacious – granting wishes to worshipers, be it cure a terminal disease, promotion at work or strike the lottery, and thereby gaining believers that are not only Thai locals, but also from the Chinese community in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Macau and Singapore.

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Many devout worshipers are seen in the compound.

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When you do a prayer, offerings such as lit incense, candles and fresh flowers are given.

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When you make a wish – you must simultaneously make a vow to Phra Phrom God, telling him how you will show your gratitude or repay offerings when your wish is granted.  The vow must be redeemed once your wish come true.  Do keep the vow within your capabilities.  I hope I have explained it correctly in English.  The explanation seems very lengthy but it boils down to two simple words in Chinese that describe this process “还愿” (huan yuan), which also applies to Buddhism, literally meaning “to return the wish”.  As superstitious as it may sound, when deity is involved, I choose to believe rather than not.

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At the end of prayers, worshipers wash their hands with (holy?) water.

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When your prayers are answered, depending on what you have told Phra Phrom God, whether it’s to become vegetarian for a year, or giving wooden elephants as offerings, the vow is redeemed.  You might notice there are some dancers for hire and wooden elephants in the compound, which are for the particular use of “repaying the offering”.

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The story of how the shrine came about was that the Thai government constructed the Erawan Hotel in the 1950’s unfortunately on an inauspicious date, causing accidents and injuries during the construction period.  After consulting an astrologer, the shrine was built to counteract the unexplained ominous forces.  The Erawan Hotel no longer exists today and the Grand Hyatt Erawan hotel currently occupies the same site.

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Aerial view of Erawan Shrine from the BTS Sky Train Chitlom Station.

 
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Getting there : Via BTS Sky Train.  Exit at Chitlom Station.

Comments

comments

12 comments

    1. Khai

      Yeah so cool! Sometimes during auspicious days, a lot of people swarmed the shrine.

      Oh, it is interesting to know the concept of 还愿 because in Islam there is a similar thing known as the ‘nazar’ [but I am not sure if nazar is the term in Arabic or in Malay]. So, let’s say we pray that we will be successful in exam and in return we will fast for 3 days. So, we have to fulfill the vow otherwise bad thing will happen or stuff like that 🙂

      1. CrazyGuyinThailand

        The “evil eye” is also known in Arabic as ʿayn al-ḥasūd (عين الحسود‎), in Hebrew as ʿáyin hā-ráʿ (עַיִן הָרַע‎), in Kurdish çaw e zar (eye of evil/sickness), in Persian as chashm zakhm (چشم زخم eye-caused injury) or chashm e bad (bad eye), in Turkish as Nazar (nazar is from Arabic نَظَر Nadhar, which means eye vision or eyesight), similarly in Urdu/Hindi/Punjabi the word Nazar or Boori Nazar (bad eye/look) is used, in Amharic buda, in Afghan Pashto cheshim mora, and also “Nazar”, in Greek as to máti (το μάτι), in Spanish as mal de ojo. in Italian as malocchio, in Portuguese mau-olhado (“act of giving an evil/sick look”), in Swedish as “ge onda ögat” (to give an evil look), and in Hawaiian it is known as “stink eye”or maka pilau meaning “rotten eyes”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_eye

        1. Khai

          But I think this evil eye is different. In Malaysia, the concept of nazaar is just like what KJ said. Hehe.

          I googled and found this > Nazar al-Mujazah

          1. Khai

            I think it is not connected. Haha

            Evil eye is just like a charm, I think. And mostly found and known in the middle east. When I googled, I can’t recall of such thing in Malaysia. Haha

        1. Khai

          I am not sure what is the English word though.

          Yeah, I have tried. For example, I asked for flying colours in my exam, in return I will donate some money to the mosque. So, when wish granted, I performed my vow 🙂

  1. Nellz

    hello, could you share the proper way of praying at the Erawan Shrine please?
    Clockwise or anti clockwise etc?

    Thank you!

  2. Pingback: Bangkok Itinerary – Best of Bangkok | Always Travelicious !

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