Erawan Shrine: 'Intersection of the Gods' beloved by Thais & Chinese

Erawan Shrine: 'Intersection of the Gods' beloved by Thais & Chinese

Built in 1956 after string of mishaps befell construction of luxury hotel, Hindu god shrines so numerous, area now known as Intersection of the Gods. Long popular with Chinese worshipers.

Erawan shrine is located at Ratchadamri intersection in downtown Bangkok, known as "Itersection of the Gods" for the many shrines to Hindu gods buildt by shopping malls in the area.

RELIGION

Erawan Shrine: Hindu shrine beloved by Thai Buddhists & Chinese

18/08/2015
AFP News agency

The chin of Phra Phrom, the central statue in the shrine, was completely broken.

The massive explosion next to the Erawan shrine Monday caused only minor damage to the shrine and it is estimated that it will take about two weeks to repair.

Only the chin of the central statue in the shrine was completely broken. Plaster will be used to patch the statue's face and other damaged parts. Craftsmen will then paint it with lacquer and gild it again with gold leaf.

ORIGINS OF ERAWAN SHRINE

The shrine itself was erected in 1956 after a string of mishaps befell the construction of a government owned luxury hotel.

An astrologer recommended building a shrine to the four-faced Hindu god Brahma, known as Phra Phrom.

Legend says that once the shrine went up, the problems besetting workers disappeared and devotees have flocked there ever since.

Such shrines are common in Buddhist majority Thailand, a nation which has forged a syncretic relationship with animist and Hindu traditions.

Few visitors who make their way to Bangkok's main shopping mall district fail to notice the Erawan Shrine which sits at the foot of a luxury hotel on one of the city's busiest intersections.

The smell of sandalwood incense and the jangle of temple music wafts above the din from the city's gridlocked streets providing a welcome respite for both devotees and curious onlookers.

RAJADAMRI INTERSECTION OF THE GODS

As the area around the Ratchadamri intersection where the Erawan shrine is located developed commercially, every new shopping center in the area built their own shrine to a Hindu god as a counterforce to the perceived to be powerful Erawan shrine, until the Ratchadamri intersection became known as the Intersection of the Gods (แยกเทพพระเจ้า).

The World Trade Centre (Central World) created a shrine to the Hindu god Phra Trimurati, Amarin Plaza chose Lord Indra at its entrance and Gaysorn Plaza chose Phra Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu.


POPULARITY AMONG CHINESE

The Erawan Shrine in 1978.

The Erawan Shrine quite early on became popular with Chinese worshipers, as Bangkok Post columnist Kong Rithdee notes: 

"Always festooned with garlands and covered in a thin layer of joss stick smoke, the Erawan Shrine has become popular among Chinese-speaking people since at least the 1970s. There is a Bangkok Post photo of a Taiwanese woman offering four large wooden elephants at the shrine in 1989. The belief that prayers made to the shrine would be answered -- couples asking for babies being the most popular, though students also ask for grades and lovers for requited love -- only grew and grew, leading to the coterie of beautifully sequinned nang ram -- traditional dancers -- positioned at the shrine and paid to perform their dance so as to please Bramha. ... Hong Kong actress Deborah Lee came to pray at the shrine 40 years ago. She went back and said that her prayers were answered, that her lucky star was perpetually on the rise. It made headlines and triggered the waves of Chinese-speaking visitors who have made a pilgrimage to the shrine since..."



BEATEN TO DEATH BY ANGRY MOB

The fervour with which locals treat the shrine is so great that in 2006 a mentally ill man who attacked the statue of Brahma with a hammer was beaten to death by an angry mob.

The shrine has also been witness to key recent moments in Thailand's turbulent political history thanks to its location near the Ratchaprasong intersection, the center for red shirt protests in 2010.

The Erawan Shrine after the 2006 hammer attack.



http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/special-reports/660164/bangkok-blast-the-hindu-shrine-beloved-by-buddhists

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/663108/repairs-to-brahmin-statue-erawan-shrine-begin-monday

http://www.bangkokpost.com/travel/in-thailand/660164/bangkok-blast-the-hindu-shrine-beloved-by-buddhists

http://www.bangkokpost.com/travel/in-thailand/660784/the-shrine-history-more-than-four-faces

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Vocabulary

  • animist: of a religion in which people believe that things in nature, such as animals, trees, and mountains, have spirits - ความเชื่อว่ามีวิญญาณในธรรมชาติและจักรวาล
  • astrologer: someone who studies the movements and positions of the sun, moon, planets and stars and describes the expected effect that they believe these have on the character and behaviour of humans - โหราจารย์, โหร, นักโหราศาสตร์
  • at the foot of: at the bottom of -
  • befell: (of something unpleasant)to happen to somebody - เกิดขึ้น,บังเกิดขึ้น
  • besetting (verb): causing someone difficulty or danger over a period of time - รุมเร้าด้วยปัญหา
  • broken: become apart - แตกหัก
  • chin (noun): the part of the face below the mouth and above the neck - คาง
  • columnist: a journalist who writes regular articles for a newspaper or magazine - ผู้เขียนในหนังสือพิมพ์หรือนิตยสาร, คอลัมน์นิสต์
  • commercially: for business purposes - สำหรับการค้า
  • common: ordinary; not unusual or special - ที่เกิดขึ้นทุกวัน, ธรรมดา
  • completely (adv): totally, in every way possible - อย่างทั้งหมด
  • construction: the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - การก่อสร้าง
  • counterforce: to work against another powerful force -
  • craftsmen: people who make beautiful or practical objects using their hands - ช่างฝีมือ
  • curious (adj): having a strong desire to know about something - อยากรู้อยากเห็น
  • damage (verb): to harm or spoil something/somebody - ทำความเสียหาย
  • develop (verb): to gradually grow and improve something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger and successful - พัฒนา
  • devotee: a very religious person who belongs to a particular group; a person who admires and is very enthusiastic about somebody/something - ผู้มีใจศรัทธา,ผู้อุทิศตัวกับ,ผู้หมกมุ่นใน
  • din: a very loud unpleasant noise that lasts for a long time - เสียงอึกทึก
  • disappear: to no longer exist; to no longer be in use - หายไป, สาบสูญ, สูญหาย
  • erect: to put the parts of something together so that it stands upright - ตั้งขึ้น
  • estimated: thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available - ประมาณการ
  • explosion: a large, sudden or rapid increase in the amount or number of something - การระเบิด
  • fervour (noun): very strong feelings about something - ความรู้สึกท่วมท้น, ความรักท่วมท้น, ความศรัทธาแรงกล้า
  • festoon (verb): to decorate somebody/something with flowers, coloured paper, etc., often as part of a celebration - ประดับด้วยพู่ห้อย, ตกแต่งด้วยพวงมาลัย
  • flock: to go somewhere in large numbers; to gather together in large numbers - แห่กันไป
  • forge: to develop a successful relationship - หลอม สานสัมพันธ์
  • garland: a circle made of flowers worn around the neck or head as a decoration - พวงมาลัย
  • gild: gild with gold; cover with a very thin layer of gold - เคลือบทอง
  • gold leaf (noun): very thin gold used to cover Buddhist statues - ทองแผ่น, แผ่นทองบางมาก สำหรับปิดทองพระพุทธรูป
  • gridlock: a situation in which it is impossible to make progress - ติดขัด, แออัด, รถติด
  • hammer: a tool consisting of a piece of metal with a flat end which is fixed onto the end of a long thin usually wooden handle, used for hitting things - ค้อน
  • incense: a substance that produces a pleasant smell when you burn it, used particularly in religious ceremonies - ธูป,กำยาน,เครื่องหอม
  • intersection: a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other - สี่แยก
  • jangle: the sound of music -
  • joss stick (noun): a thin wooden stick covered with a substance that burns slowly and produces a sweet smell - ธูป
  • known as (verb): has the name .... -
  • legend: a story from ancient times about people and events, that may or may not be true; this type of story - ตำนาน
  • located: where something is - ตั้งอยู่
  • luxury: the best and most expensive of something - ที่หรูหรา 
  • majority: more than half of the people in a group - เสียงส่วนมาก
  • make their way to: go to -
  • massive: very large in size, amount or number - ใหญ่โต
  • mentally ill: suffering from an illness that affects your mind - โรคทางจิตใจที่มีความผิดปรกติของความรู้สึก ความคิด อารมณ์ หรือพฤติกรรมอย่างแรงถึงขนาดคุมสติไม่อยู่
  • minor: not important; small; having little influence or effect - เล็กน้อย
  • mishap: an accident or mistake - อุบัติเหตุ, เหตุร้าย
  • mob (verb): (of a crowd) to gather round someone/something, often in order to gain attention - ห้อมล้อม, รุมล้อม
  • nation: a country considered as a group of people with the same language, culture and history, who live in a particular area under one government; all the people in a country - ประเทศ, คนในประเทศ
  • notice: to see or hear somebody/something; to become aware of somebody/something - สังเกต
  • onlookers: people who watch something that is happening in a public place but are not involved in it - ผู้ดูเหตุการณ์
  • origins: the beginning or cause of something - แหล่งกำเนิด
  • patch: to repair something, put a "patch" or piece of cloth to cover over a hole -
  • perceive: to think of or understand something in a particular way - เข้าใจ, รับรู้
  • perform: to put on a show for people, e.g., singing, playing a sport, etc - แสดง
  • perpetually: continuing for a long period of time without interruption - อย่างต่อเนื่อง
  • pilgrimage: a journey that a person makes to a holy place (a person making a pilgrimage is a pilgrim) - เดินทางแสวงบุญ
  • plaster: a substance made of lime, water and sand, that is put on walls and ceilings to give them a smooth hard surface - ปูนฉาบผนัง
  • popular (adj): a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people - เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
  • powerful (adj.): being able to control and influence people and events - ที่มีอิทธิพล
  • powerful (adj): having great power or force - มีแรงมาก,มีกำลังมาก,แข็งแรง
  • prayer (noun): making a request or paying respect when practicing a religion - การสวดมนต์
  • recommend (verb): to advise someone that they should do something - แนะนำ
  • relationship: the way in which two people, groups or countries behave towards each other or deal with each other - ความสัมพันธ์
  • repair: to fix something that is broken or damaged - ซ่อมบำรุง
  • respite: a short break or escape from something difficult or unpleasant - การหยุดพักชั่วคราว
  • sandalwood: a wood obtained from a hard tropical tree which contains a type of oil with a sweet smell and is used to make perfume - ไม้จันทน์, ต้นไม้จันทน์
  • smoke: dirty air that comes from burning or factory pollution, for example - ควัน
  • statue: a human or animal image that is made of stone, wood, metal, etc. - รูปปั้น
  • string: a series of similar or connected events that happen one after the other - การเรียงต่อเนื่องของเหตุการณ์หรือสิ่งต่างๆ
  • thanks to: because of - ด้วยเหตุ, เพราะ
  • tradition: a very old custom, belief, or story - ประเพณี, ขนบธรรมเนียม
  • trigger: to cause - ก่อให้เกิด กระตุ้น
  • turbulent: changing often or difficult to control - ผันผวน
  • unusual (adj): different from what is usual or normal - ผิดปกติ
  • waft: drift; to move slowly, often as a result of outside forces, with no control over direction - ล่องลอย,เลื่อนลอย
  • welcome: to be pleased to receive or accept something - รับด้วยความยินดี
  • witness: a person who sees something happen - ผู้ที่เห็นเหตุการณ์
  • worshiper: someone who is showing love and respect for God, especially during a religious ceremony or prayer - ผู้นับถือ,ผู้สักการะบูชา, ผู้สวดมนตร์
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