Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Four-Faced Buddha (四面佛 Erawan Shrine aka Thao Maha Brahma) @ Bangkok [Thailand]

Mention a visit to Four-Faced Buddha and you would likely get questions from friends if you have been to Bangkok although the worship of this Hindu god exists in Singapore too! 

Such was the fame of Erawan Shrine which is touted as a must visit by some of my friends who believe praying at the shrine would bring to them good luck, fortune and protection.

Many are not aware of its history and the skeptical ones thought it is merely a temple built for tourism purpose (just like our merlion). The truth is more superstitious in nature and related to a government hotel that was built in the 50s. 

During the construction phase of Erawan Hotel (not the current Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel), there were numerous mishaps and an astrologer (a rear admiral in fact) attributed them to the miscalculated timing when laying the foundation block. 

A shrine honouring the four-faced Buddha was hence built upon his advice and strangely, the construction proceeded smoothly after that. 

A mere coincidence? Maybe but we cannot deny its popularity with devotees who thoroughly believe in the powers of this deity! Apparently, some Singaporeans would even travel back to Bangkok annually just to thank and pay homage to the god. 

The richer ones would even donate statues of wooden / gold plated elephants, national animal for Thailand, to the shrine! Not exactly a good move as the temple has very limited space compared to other prominent temples in the capital! 

Pious devotees might even tear while praying! Kidding as my friend happened to be wiping her cheek in the above picture. Haha. However, there are indeed instances when people display extreme affections when it comes to religion. 

Each face of the Buddha (technically, the god is not a Buddha as it falls under Hinduism) is said to represent a different thing; success, love, fortune and health. From what i can see, the worshippers seemed to go around in one circle to cover all four faces. Bet most humans can never be satisfied with just the fulfilment of one wish! 

Not sure if anyone remembers the news in 2006 when the statue was smashed by a man who was later found out to be mentally unsound. This new statue was installed two months after the event.

Garlands of flowers, incense sticks and candles were often placed as offerings and they are readily available in the long row of carts outside the shrine.

Most offerings are available within the shrine and you may refer to the price list as above. By the way, worshippers are required to abstain from meat for three days; a day before the praying, the actual day and a day after. 

You may even make merit by buying these poor birds caged in small enclosures and then release them! Awww, so nice of you right? Not really! Your actions would only fuel the demand and this would only make the operators more motivated to capture more birds for you! 

End your visit by washing your hands / face with the supposed holy water from the golden urn! I wouldn't be surprised if anyone drinks it using the silver cups. 

More photographs for your viewing pleasure; sorry, i had too much time as i was waiting for the rest to complete their praying. 

We happened to pass by at night and i could not resist taking a few more pictures! For those who wish to see the shrine in its full capacity (and maybe even beyond) consider visiting on the ninth of November each year!

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Location
Ratchaprasong intersection of Ratchadamri Road,
Pathum Wan District, Bangkok
[Near Chit Lom BTS]

Opening Hours
6am to 11pm

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