Shrines in Bangkok have been erected for a variety of deities such as Brahma, Ganesha, and Kuan Yin. The Erawan Shrine is dedicated to Lord Brahma, the Hindu god of creation.
The Erawan Shrine is also known as the Tao Mahaprom Shrine, which means ‘Shrine of Lord Brahma the Great’. Without a doubt, it is the most well-known and most visited shrine in Bangkok. Attracting hundreds of worshippers daily, by both Thai and foreign visitors, the area is always busy throughout the day and night.
The Erawan Shrine is located on the southeast corner of Rajaprasong Intersection, one of the busiest intersections in Bangkok in the center of the main shopping area.
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Almost every major commercial building on this intersection has a shrine for a deity to serve as its protective guardian. Hindu shrines generally have a protective function, and consequently, this area of Bangkok has the highest concentration of shrines dedicated to the Hindu gods and goddesses.
The Erawan Shrine was erected in 1956 and has a well-known story that changed the fate of the Erawan Hotel.
During construction, the Erawan Hotel was plagued with problems and reportedly many construction workers even lost their lives. Fearing that the spirit of the land was to blame, a Brahma priest advised that a shrine dedicated to Brahma would be an auspicious solution to appease the unhappy spirits and eliminate any further bad karma.
Following the erection of the shrine construction progressed without any further problems, and on opening the new hotel became very prosperous. The Erawan Shrine quickly became one of the most revered shrines in Bangkok attracting hundreds of worshippers from around the world every day.
The Erawan Shrine houses a golden statue of Than Tao Mahaprom the four-faced Brahma God. According to Hindu belief, this Brahma god has four virtues, kindness, mercy, sympathy and impartiality, which are represented by his four faces.
The four-faced Brahma God can see and protect everything. The many worshippers hoping that their wishes will be fulfilled make offerings of candles, incense sticks, floral garlands and even teakwood elephants. If their prayers are answered they can hire the resident Thai traditional dancers to perform for the god.
Visitors can also make cash donations that are managed by the Than Tao Mahaprom Foundation Erawan Hotel. The money is regularly distributed to various charities for medical and philanthropic purposes.