Hanuman statues 'to protect nation'

Hanuman statues 'to protect nation'

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon yesterday presided over a ceremony to cast statues of Hanuman -- a Hindu monkey god -- intended to safeguard the country and the monarchy.

The casting ceremony was held in the compound of the Bangkok City Pillar Shrine in Sanam Luang where a ceremony was also held to mark 234 years yesterday of the shrine's establishment.

Deputy Defence Minister Udomdej Sitabutr, permanent secretary for defence Preecha Chan-o-cha, and the armed forces leaders were also present.

The Hanuman statues were made at the suggestion of Phra Prommangalacharn, assistant abbot of Wat Trai Mit Witthayaram in Bangkok, a source said.

Phra Prommangalacharn, better known as Chao Khun Thongchai, is a senior monk who has frequently travelled to King Power stadium of Leicester City to give blessings to the club's players. The Foxes are currently at the top of English Premier League table with four games remaining.

"Hanuman is a soldier safeguarding the King and the country," a source quoted the monk as saying.

Hanuman is a Hindu monkey god and his exploits as a warrior in the monkey army led by the Hindu god Rama are mentioned in the Hindu epic tale of Ramayana.

A total of 1,309 Hanuman statues will be cast. Of them, nine will be cast in gold, 300 in silver and 1,000 will be made of a mixture of several types of metal.

Built on April 21, 1782, the Bangkok City Pillar Shrine houses two pillars. The taller pillar was erected in 1782 by King Rama I, the founding monarch of the Chakri Dynasty.

The shorter pillar was installed 70 years later during the reign of King Rama IV. The shrine is a major attraction drawing numerous worshippers and tourists.

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