Increase or decrease font size for easier reading :
The Erawan shrine of Bangkok is consecrated to Lord Brahma, the creator.
This shrine is very sacred to the Thai Buddhists and the deity is known to
have wish-fulling and boon-giving powers.
The magnificent image of the Lord Brahma is
called "THAN TAO MAHAPROM"
Everyday many passengers travelling by bus, skytrain, taxi
greets the Lord Brahma by doing a "WAI" gesture (ไหว้)
with folded hands to express their reverence and devotion to the deity.
The "THAO MAHAPHROM" Erawan Hotel Foundation was established
in 1988 to manage the fund coming from donations. From the opening of
the shrine in 1956 to 2002, a total of 550 million baht had been collected. Part of the money
has been donated to more than 300 hospitals all over Thailand.
The Erawan shrine was built in 1956.
At that time, Erawan hotel was under construction but in the process
of its construction several accidents happened.
The forces of the typical Thai spirit house didn't seem effective enough.
So based on an astrologer's suggestion, it was advised to be replaced
by a shrine with a four-headed image of Brahma.
The shrine is opened from 6 AM to 11 PM everyday.
The famous Erawan shrine
is containing a four faces Lord Brahma statue. This shrine is supposed
to bring luck. When making a request, devotees must bring a gift: flowers,
garlands, elephants made of wood, banknotes, food, dances and so on...
When requesting something, devotees shall promise a reward if the wish
happens. This act is called "KAE BON" (แก้บน).
If one does not give the reward, one shall beware of the spirit revenge.
The dancers, all women, wear glittering costumes.
During the four-minute performance, dancers recite the name of
the supplicant, who sits in front of them and faces the Brahma statue.
The fees for the dances depend on the number of dancers,
starting from 260 baht. The length of the dance ranges from five to 10 minutes.
Each dancer and musician gets 20 baht per performance
and each earns arounf 800 to 900 baht a day.
Dances, which are performed in Erawan shrine before the image of Lord Brahma,
are in the nature of Thai classic drama dance known as "LAKKORA JATRI"
The dance to fullfill ones vow is called "RAM KE BON"
Religious dances are usually performed for
making the deity happy and keeping him in good mood.
Thai people believe that Brama, who
monitors the course of life, nature and events, can provide a new path.
Devotees offer elephants made of teak wood. The size of wooden elephants
varies according to the extent of devotion shown by the devotee and
according to what he can afford.
At the centre of the shrine is the handsome Brahma golden god.
He has four faces and eight hands. The first three right hands hold a chakra, a staff and a pot.
The fourth is placed on the chest. The four left hands hold a sceptre, Hindu scriptures,
a conch shell and a string of beads.
Since 1956, devotees have given million of baht to date.
The donations are used to build hospitals in different areas of the country
where they are most needed and to assist Buddhist temples.
The much-revered statue of Brahma god of
creator was smashed to pieces with a hammer by a mentally-disturbed man
on March 2006. The man was beaten to death after
attacking the statue. The Culture Ministry's Fine Arts Department was ordered to
restore the statue as soon as possible.
In Thailand, there is a difference between shrines and temples.
A shrine is a place of workship when devotees do not live, while
in temples, monks and other priests live.