Ganesh museum: 5 heads, 16 arms, 2,000 statues

Ganesh museum: 5 heads, 16 arms, 2,000 statues

Whether Ganesh is dancing, riding his rat or just eating sweets, learn his 32 styles & the best way to worship him for you.

Ganesh with a child-like face.


Beginning to see the light

The Ganesh Museum in Chiang Mai displays the expansive world of the elephant god's worshippers
Peerawat Jariyasombat

A Ganesh doll.

A brick shrine towers up among fragrances of incense and flower offerings. The fast rhythms of tabla playing and the multi-coloured decorations on buildings and indeed all around make me think that I am somewhere in India.

In the middle of nowhere, amidst the rice paddies and the fruit orchards of Doi Lo district, the god Ganesh is seriously worshipped.

The Ganesh Museum is a privately-owned venture founded 10 years ago by Pandara Theerakanond. It exhibits all things Ganesh and a worshipping ceremony is held every Sunday.

"It all started with a private collection. When I stayed in Chiang Mai city, my growing collection of Ganesh replicas interested people and I lost my privacy when they visited my house to view these statues. So I decided to build a shrine and a museum, a place to keep my collection," says Pandara.

The Ganesh museum in Chiang Mai.

The elephant-headed Hindu god is renowned throughout India as the Lord of Beginnings, and both the placer and the remover of obstacles. Thus, he is worshipped before any new venture has begun.

The shrine is located in a soi, around 5km from the main road, and Pandara explains that it is the best location to get spiritual power from Doi Inthanon, which can be seen from the shrine.

"Doi Inthanon is the last tip of the Himalaya range, which connects to India," he says. When he was a kid, the first Ganesh he collected was a small replica as a gift from his father.

"When I watched Indian movies, I was so curious. All actors in the movie had very nice looks except the character of Ganesh." In this endeavour to learn more, he started collecting statues of the elephant god.

Thirty-six years later, he found that he had more than 2,000 statues of Ganesh.

His museum comprises two buildings, displaying Ganesh replicas in different styles, as well as regalia and decorative items from many Asian countries where the deity is worshipped.

Visitors are educated about the style of Ganesh statues, of which there are 32, ranging from one to five heads and two to 16 arms. Each style depicts a particular purpose.

The most recognisable style is Nritya Ganapati, or dancing Ganesh. This style is worshipped by dancers, performers and those who work in the entertainment business.

Vara Ganapati - the giver of boons - is the style of fulfilled love. In this style, Ganesh has his lover sitting on his lap. Garment sellers or beauty-related business operators generally worship this style.

Srishti Ganapati - the creator - rides a large rodent. This style is worshipped by people who travel a lot, mostly pilots, air crew, tour guides, writers and designers.

Moreover, there are numerous Ganesh replicas used as decorative items and toys such as puppets from Myanmar, masks from Nepal, or colourful toys from India.

At the shrine, there is also a counter offering motichoor ladoo, a ball-shape sweet made especially for offering to the deity. There is a belief Ganesh loves this sweet so much anybody offering him one will have their wishes granted.

"You may notice there is always a rat nearby Ganesh. The rat is Ganesh's vehicle and servant. When you make a wish, do not forget to whisper to the rat. He will help convey your wish to Ganesh," a museum employee advises.

The longer you stay in the museum, the more you will learn about the world of Ganesh and and the myriad ways of worshipping this deity.


- The Ganesh Museum opens daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission is free. Call 089-855-5852 or visit The museum is situated in the Doi Lo district of Chiang Mai, in a soi off highway 108.

- Another Ganesh museum, Ganesha Park in Nakhon Nayok, has the biggest Ganesh statue in Thailand at 15m tall.

Learn from listening

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  • actor (noun): a person in a drama on TV, a movie or on stage - นักแสดงชาย
  • advise: to tell somebody what you think they should do in a particular situation - แนะนำ, แจ้ง
  • amidst: in the middle of - ระหว่าง
  • beauty: the quality of being beautiful or very good to look at - ความสวยงาม
  • belief (noun): something that you think is true - ความเชื่อ
  • boon (noun): something good and useful that you get; a benefit - สิ่งที่เป็นประโยชน์, สิ่งที่ช่วยอำนวยความสะดวก
  • brick: baked clay used for building walls, houses and other buildings - อิฐ
  • ceremony (noun): a formal public event - งานพิธี
  • collection (noun): a group of objects, often of the same sort, that have been collected (gathered together over period of time) - สิ่งของที่รวบรวมไว้, การสะสม การเก็บรวบรวม
  • comprise: to consist or be made up of two or more things - ประกอบด้วย
  • connect: to join together two or more things - เชื่อมต่อ
  • convey: to communicate something; to express a thought, feeling or idea so that it is understood by other people - สื่อไปถึง, สื่อสาร
  • counter: a long flat surface over which goods are sold or business is done in a shop/store, bank, etc - เคาน์เตอร์, โต๊ะขนาดยาว
  • creator: a person who has made or invented a particular thing - ผู้ออกแบบ, เจ้าตำรับ, ผู้ประดิษฐ์
  • crew: the people who work on a ship, aircraft, etc. - ลูกเรือ
  • curious (adj): having a strong desire to know about something - อยากรู้อยากเห็น
  • decoration: a thing that makes something look more attractive on special occasions - เครื่องประดับ
  • decorative: decorated in a way that makes it attractive; intended to look attractive or pretty - ซึ่งใช้ตกแต่งหรือประดับประดา, ซึ่งตกแต่งแล้ว
  • deity: a god -
  • depict: to represent or show something in a picture or story - พรรณนา, บรรยายให้เห็นภาพ
  • designer (noun): a person who comes up with ideas and plans for things such as new products, fashion, inside of houses, gardens, etc - นักออกแบบ, ดีไซน์เนอร์
  • educate (noun): to teach people about something - สอน, ให้การศึกษา
  • employee: someone who is paid regularly to work for a person or an organisation - ลูกจ้าง
  • endeavour: to try very hard to do something - ความพยายาม บากบั่น
  • especially: more with one person, thing, etc. than with others, or more in particular circumstances than in others - โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่ง
  • exhibit: to put something interesting in a museum or other public place so that people can go and look at it - จัดแสดง
  • expansive: very wide; covering a large subject area - ไพศาล, กว้างขวาง
  • found: to start an organization, company, political party etc - สร้าง, ก่อตั้ง, สถาปนา
  • fragrance: a sweet or pleasant smell - กลิ่นหอม
  • fulfill: to achieve something that you wanted to do, or to get something that you hoped for - สำเร็จ
  • Ganesh (noun): the Indian elephant god - พระพิฆเณศ
  • garment: a piece of clothing - เสื้อผ้า, เครื่องแต่งกาย
  • gift: something that you give to someone as a present - ของขวัญ
  • grant: to give - ให้
  • guide (noun): a tourist guide, a person who brings tourists to interesting places to see on a tour - ผู้นำเที่ยว
  • incense: a substance that produces a pleasant smell when you burn it, used particularly in religious ceremonies - ธูป,กำยาน,เครื่องหอม
  • kid (noun): a child - เด็ก
  • lap (noun): when you are sitting the place on top of your legs where someone can sit - ตัก, หน้าตัก, หน้าขา, หน้าขาตอนเข่าหรือโคนขาในเวลานั่ง
  • multi-: more than one; many - มาก, หลาย
  • museum: a building where objects of historical, scientific or artistic interest are kept - พิพิธภัณฑ์
  • myriad: an extremely large number of something - มากมายมหาศาล, ซึ่งมีจำนวนมหาศาล, ซึ่งนับไม่ถ้วน
  • notice: to see or hear somebody/something; to become aware of somebody/something - สังเกต
  • nowhere (noun): no place - สถานที่ที่ไม่เป็นที่รู้จัก, สถานที่ที่ไม่มีอยู่จริง, สถานที่ห่างไกล
  • numerous: many - มากมาย
  • obstacle: a difficulty or problem that prevents you from achieving something - อุปสรรค ขวากหนาม
  • offer: an act of saying that you are willing to do something for somebody or give something to somebody - เสนอเพื่อให้พิจารณา
  • offering: something made available or able to be given to someone - สิ่งที่ถวายให้, ของขวัญ
  • orchard: an area of land where fruit trees are grown - สวนหรือแปลงผลไม้
  • particular: specific - เฉพาะ, จำเพาะ, โดยเฉพาะ
  • performer: a person who performs for an audience in a show, concert, etc - นักแสดง, ผู้แสดง
  • pilot: a person who operates the controls of an aircraft, especially as a job - นักบิน
  • privacy: the freedom to do things without other people watching you or knowing what you are doing - ความเป็นส่วนตัว
  • private: involving groups, businesses or industries that are not owned or controlled by the government - เอกชน
  • puppet: a small model of a person or animal that you can move by pulling wires or strings, or by putting your hand inside - หุ่น
  • purpose: the intention to achieve something - ความตั้งใจ, ความประสงค์, ความปรารถนา, ความตั้งใจ
  • range (noun): mountain range, many mountains and hills that cover a large area - เทือกเขา, แนวเขา, แนวเขาที่ต่อเนื่องกันไปเป็นพืด
  • rat (noun): a small animal that comes to your apartment or house when you do not clean it - หนู
  • recognisable: easy to recognise or remember - เป็นที่รู้จักกัน, จำได้ง่าย
  • regalia: special clothes that you wear for a ceremony or official occasion - เครื่องหมายหรือเสื้อผ้าแสดงตำแหน่ง ยศหรือขั้น
  • remove (verb): to take something away - เอาออก
  • renowned (adj): famous and admired for a special quality, skill or achievement - ที่มีชื่อเสียง
  • replica: an accurate copy of something - งานศิลปะที่จำลองจากของจริง, ของจำลอง
  • rhythm: a regular pattern of movement or sound - จังหวะ
  • rice paddies (noun): a field for growing rice - นา, ที่นา
  • rodent: any small animal that belongs to a group of animals with strong sharp front teeth. Mice, rats and squirrels are all rodents - สัตว์ที่ใช้ฟันแทะ, สัตว์
  • servant: a person who works in another person's house, and cooks, cleans, etc. for them - คนรับใช้
  • shape: the form of the outer edges or surfaces of something - รูปร่าง, รูปทรง, โครงร่าง
  • shrine: a place for worship which is holy because of a connection with a holy person or object - สถานที่บูชา
  • spiritual: religious, or related to religious issues - เกี่ยวกับศาสนา
  • statue: a human or animal image that is made of stone, wood, metal, etc. - รูปปั้น
  • tabla (noun): Indian drums -
  • tip: the thin pointed end of something - จุดปลายสุด
  • towering: very high or tall - สูงลิ่ว, สูงตระหง่าน, สูงเสียดเมฆ
  • vehicle: a machine that you travel in or on, especially one with an engine that travels on roads, e.g., a car, bus, van, truck, etc. - ยานพาหนะ
  • venture: a new activity, usually in business, which involves risk or uncertainty - ธุริกิจเสี่ยงแต่สามารถทำกำไรได้
  • wish (noun): something that you want to have in the future - ความปรารถนา, ความประสงค์, ความต้องการ, ความอยาก
  • worship (noun): the practice of showing respect for God or a god, by saying prayers, singing with others, etc; a ceremony for this - พิธีสักการะบูชา, พิธีกราบไหว้, พิธีบวงสรวง
  • worshipper: someone who is showing love and respect for God, especially during a religious ceremony or prayer - ผู้นับถือ,ผู้สักการะบูชา, ผู้สวดมนตร์
  • writer (noun): a person who writes books or articles - ผู้แต่ง, คนแต่ง, ผู้เขียน, คนเขียน, บุคคลที่เขียนหรือเรียบเรียงให้เป็นเรื่องราว
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