Hindu Temples in Bangkok
The principal Hindu shrines in Bangkok are at;
Bangkok's Ratchaprasong District Intersection where on opposite corners of the intersection of one can see worshipers at the Shrines of, The Erawan Shrine, The Indra Shrine, The Ganesh Shrine, The Narayana Shrine , Goddess Lakshimi Shrine and The Trimurti Shrine.
Wat Pra Sri Umadevi in Silom Road Bangkok at the corner of Soi 19, and
The Red Swing For Hindu Harvest Festival, Wat Suthat in the front of Wat Suthat Bangkok near to and east of Rattanakosin Island.
The Hindu Shrines at Ratchaprasong Intersection
The Erawan Shrine
Erawan is the name of the mythical Hindu elephant which was Rama's mount. This however is the name of a Hindu Shrine depicting the image of Phra Phrom. It is a Brahmin Shrine. Similar four headed gold plated images of Rama can be seen often in Thailand particularly out side large hotel buildings. This is not to be confused with the Thai Spirit Houses also often placed in front of buildings.
The Indra Shrine
This Shrine houses the image of the Hindu God, Indra who is in concept the supreme ruler of all the Gods. He is made of dark jade and the statue is some 80 meters east from The Erawan Shrine in front of the building called Amarin Plaza. Indra is regarded as the Diety that looks after mankind.
The Narayana Shrine of Lord Vishnu mounted above Garuda the mythical bird.
This large bronze statue is located out front of the Inter-Continental Hotel on the Northeast side of the Ratchaprasong intersection.
The Goddess Lakshmi Statue.
This also can be scene outside the Inter-Continental Hotel. Lakshmi was the female consort of Lord Narayana and is revered for beauty, fertility and wealth.
The Trimurti Shrine.
This shrine includes the three pillars of Hindu Gods, Brahma the Creator, Shiva the Destroyer and Vishnu the Preserver. The image is in bronze and is gold plated.
The Lord Ganesh Shrine
- Ganesh is another Hindu Diety. He has the head of an elephant and the body of a fat human male. The Image here is in bronze and is gold plated.
- Elsewhere in Bangkok images of Lord Ganesh can be seen where the arts, education and media activities are located. This is because Lord Ganesh as the diety of good fortune and the remover of obstacles is associated with trade, arts and education. His image is on the emblem of the Ministry of Fine Arts.
- Another image can be seen at the location of the Hindu Giant Red Swing at Wat Suthat in a shelter on the immediate right front side of the main entrance to Wat Suthat.
- Other good examples can be scene in the National Museum Bangkok which was brought to Thailand from Java, again at the Hindu Temple, Wat Pra Sri Umadevi, at Silom Road Bangkok which was brought to Thailand from India in the 19th C, and again on a pedestal in front of the Central World Plaza in Bangkok.
Understanding the symbols in the Lord Ganesh Statues
- Ganesh images come in many forms, unlike those of Buddha. He has four arms and a broken tusk. Usually in each of his four arms he holds, a goad, a pot of rice or sweets and a '' pasam ''.
- A '' Pasam '' is a triple twined weapon and in Hindu mythology each of the three twines represent the illusory nature of the real world, arrogance and conceit and ignorance. In Hindu ideology these weapons are viewed as symbols to destroy ego.
- The '' goads '' are elephant prods used by mahouts to direct elephants, but again in Hindu ideology they are a symbol to steer the human soul away from self arrogance and illusions about earthly matters.
- Lord Ganesh is also accompanied in the images with a cobra and a rat. The cobra is a snake associated with Shiva and the symbolism is that Ganesh is the son of Shiva. The rat symbolises that which is small and weaker, but the two together symbolise co-existence of the great and the small.
- The position of Lord Ganesh's trunk has symbolism also. When the trunk turns to the left this reflects the direction for success. To the right represents denouncing aspects of the world. For believers in Lord Ganesh as a spiritual force for them, when purchasing an image which is proper for their future path in life it is necessary for them to choose one with the correct trunk position.
Erawan Shrine Ratchaprasong Bangkok
Understanding About the Hindu Religion In Southeast Asia and Its Deities [ Gods ]
The Early Origins In India And Later In Southeast Asia
Hindu religion originated in India evolving
from the ancient Brahmanism, it begun with the worship of nature
and then deified phenomena believed to be superior to all beings.There
is not one religion, but many together classified as the Hindu religion.
- Here Indian people sought to satisfy ''Gods'' by singing mantras or making the worship in order to bring fortune for themselves. Norms and traditions of the worship had been simply performed in the early period and were later developed to be more complicated.
- The people who control this religious activity are called Brahmans. Brahmans have been the ones in charge of carrying out religious ceremonies and in doing so makes them more powerful and influential even than the kings, just because of the fact that they represent they can connect the Gods to humans. As a consequence Brahmans have been rendered the highest in the caste society where people have been classified according to their status.
discrimination in the form of caste system has been
unquestionably accepted owing to the Hindu mythology which believes
that all occurrences are determined only by God, and accordingly should
not be questioned. Similarly this religious system supported the
concept of living ''God Kings'' which was imposed on the ill informed
- Brahmanism [ the control of beliefs by Brahmans in India ] has been constantly adapted and developed with the changing society’s needs and values, as well to compete with other religions which were infiltrated in India as a result of the invasions by other nations.
- As consequence, the form of religion was
gradually transformed until it has become so-called “Hinduism” these
- Mainstream Hinduism has split into two denominations which are Saivaism and Vaishnavaism.
from India traveled to Southeast Asia to introduce these beliefs 2,000
years ago where they were later adopted by the Khmer people and the
Khmer Empire. The Khmer introduced these beliefs throughout their
Empire [ which included much of modern Thailand ] in the 9th century.
Whilst modern Thai people suggest they are Buddhist, the relics of
Khmer Hindu influences are still present in Thailand today.
The Various Deities [ Gods ] In the Hindu Religion
- In Hinduism, there is a large number of deities [ Gods ]. The
original ones in the early period such as Indra or Varuna
respected until now, but their significance is less. The Indra Shrine
in Bangkok [ pictured opposite ] is a current Temple for worshipers in
- The three
principal gods of Hinduism are Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Together,
they are called Trimurti [ the three forms,''Tri'' [ three], ''murti'' [ form ].
These three gods are respected unevenly. Although there have been attempts
to combine all gods together, Hindus normally worship only one god. As
a consequence, Hinduism is separated into several denominations depending upon which God they respect.
- The worship of Shiva called Saivism.
- The worship of Vishnu called Vaishnavism.
- Both Saivism and Vaishnavism also
have sub-denominations of their own.
- Although Brahma is
one of the principal gods like Shiva or Vishnu, he does not have a
particular denomination of his own.
- There is also a denomination, such as Sakti [ power or strength ], which respects the goddesses who are the consorts of the principal gods for example Uma, Shiva’s consort, Lakshmi [ depicted in the image opposite ], Vishnu’s, and Sarasvati, Brahma’s consort, believing that the wives are the husbands’ source of power and strength. Normally, Uma is the most-respected. She reincarnates into several forms which also have different names.