MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

The Decorative and Active Erawan Shrine

Since arriving in Bangkok, the Erawan Shrine was the first real taste we had of Thai religion. We passed it via the elevated walkway from BTS Chit Lom skytrain station, on the way to the Central World shopping mall.

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The Erawan Shrine, built to placate the spirits displaced by the building of the old Erawan Hotel beside it, is a shrine to Brahma, the ancient Hindu creation god and Erawan his elephant.

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Though not physically overbearing, we couldn't ignore the shrine for its prominent location on the southeast corner of busy Thanon Ploen Chit and Thanon Ratchadamri and its gaudy decorative appearance.

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We read that it's an active shrine, with constant performances of Thai music and dance, which was certainly the case every time we passed it.

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Our copy of The Rough Guide to Thailand describes the group of traditional dancers as lacklustre as they perform to the strains of a small classical orchestra. They're hired by worshippers to give thanks to good fortunes that they've received.

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Out on the road nearby, there were plenty of stalls that sell the garlands, incense, and spirit house statuettes, some of which are bought by worshippers and draped over the Erawan Shrine.

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Just outside, aside from a mobile food stall, there was also a team of charity volunteers with an information sheet, collecting donations. We saw quite a few of these teams around Bangkok in the few days we were there.

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This entry posted in : Attractions. Culture. Thailand.

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