Bangkok Most Famous Shrines: Erawan Shrine

Spirit houses are common throughout Thailand, and can be found outside almost every house and building. Most spirit houses do not develop into full-fledged shrines, Spirit houses in Thailand usually include doll-sized human figures, or perhaps a small figurine of Buddha.

Shrines, on the other hand, are places of worship where you’d go to pay respect to sacred religious icons in Buddhism (especially Brahma infleunces) and Hinduism, who in turn could grant you love, happiness, good fortune, success, luck or even fertility. Some of these shrines are very famous (and popular), while others are bizarre enough to make you blush – and not even listed in official tourist guides. Here are just some of the interesting shrines that can be found in Bangkok.
 
It’s Brahman, not strictly Buddhist. And yet, this famous shrine attracts more visitors than many of the city’s temples. It was erected during the mid 1950s, after the Thai government had decided to build the luxury Erawan Hotel on this location. However, the first stages of the construction were beset with so many problems that superstitious labourers refused to continue unless the land spirits were appeased.

After consultations with astrologers, the erection of a shrine to honour the four-faced Brahma God, Than Tao Mahaprom, was considered to be an auspicious solution. A magnificent image of the Brahma God was especially cast and gilded, and The Erawan Hotel opened to acclaims and worldwide fame for three decades. Towards the end, the property could not compete with more modern facilities, and was replaced by the privately owned Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok in 1991. As the shrine was originally constructed to grace the old Erawan Hotel, the location became known as the Erawan Shrine.

Than Tao Mahaprom is a Brahma god, full of kindness, mercy, sympathy and impartiality. These four virtues are represented by his four faces, each radiating serene grace. Since Buddhism in Thailand has always been influenced by the Brahma beliefs, he made an immediate impact.

Nowadays, as has been the case for years, unending streams of people pay respects from early morning till late at night. Thais, and even foreign visitors, make ceremonial offerings from floral garlands, fruits to teakwood elephants in the hope that their wishes will be fulfilled. Judging from the flowing multitude of believers, for many those wishes were indeed granted.

Cash contributions are managed by a foundation who distributes funds regularly to various charitable organisations and equipment for needy hospitals in the provinces. To feel the aura of reverence while watching the joyful celebration of a graceful Thai Classical Dance troupe or a lively Chinese Lion Dance is an experience to be added to your many memories of exotic Bangkok.

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