Sawasdee torn chao (good morning) all!
Although a modern society bursting with new ideas and fast growth, Thailand has managed to keep its charm through preserving cultures that have been passed down through generations. If you’ve walked through major landmarks in Bangkok, you are bound to see colorful large and small shrines scattered across the city.
Usually found in front of large establishments such as shopping malls, hotels, and offices – these shrines come in all shapes and colors. Many are beautifully appointed with reflective tinted glasses that glimmer in the sunlight, while others are made from smooth marble or stone. You can even find them in condominiums, and people’s homes.
There are two main types of shrines: large cardinal direction shrines that have openings faced in the 4 directions (north, south, east, and west), and the miniature “grandpa’s and grandma’s” house shrines. It’s believed that these architectural structures house spirits that protect and bless the people in their locations. Workers, residents, and locals offer prayers and gifts (especially flowers) to these shrines and ask for anything from happiness, health, love, to success.
Famous Shrines to Visit:
Erawan Shrine: Not strictly Buddhist, this shrine has become one of the most well-known ones. Built in the mid 1950’s, this shrine has many regular goers who worship and ask for blessings, often returning to show thanks once their blessings have been received.
Located in front of Erawan Hotel, you can walk from the Chitlom BTS station, a few stations away from Chao Hostel’s station (National Stadium).
Ganesh Shrine: In walking distance to the Erawan Shrine, in front of Central World, you will find this Hindu shrine. This large marble and stone shrine worships the Hindu god Ganesh who is known for his intellect and wisdom. Many students, especially in the arts come worship this god. You will recognize the familiar elephant headed god with human arms and a round belly.
People of all background and beliefs are welcome to worship these shrines and ask for blessings!