Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Erawan Shrine - The Four-Faced Buddha - Bangkok

The Erawan Shrine (Thai: ศาลพระพรหม, San Phra Phrom) or Thao Mahaprom Shrine is a Hindu shrine in Bangkok, Thailand, that houses a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of the Hindu creation god Brahma, who is regarded in Thai culture as a deity of good fortune and protection.

Erawan Shrine at Bangkok
Worshipers of Phra Phrom usually offer incense, candles, jasmine flowers or jasmine garlands and young coconut milk (with water in them) in their worship, usually placing these offerings before all four heads of Phra Phrom, each head representing a different aspect of the deity; it is believed each side of Phra Phrom offers different blessings. Another common way of worship is to place wooden elephant statues on the altar to honor him.

Worshipers of Phra Phrom
The shrine is located by the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, at the Ratchaprasong intersection of Ratchadamri Road in Pathum Wan district, Bangkok, Thailand. It is near the Bangkok Skytrain's Chitlom Station, which has an elevated walkway overlooking the shrine. The area has many shopping malls nearby, including Gaysorn, CentralWorld and Amarin Plaza.

worshiper at Four Faces Buddha Bangkok
The Erawan Shrine was built in 1956 as part of the government-owned Erawan Hotel to eliminate the bad karma believed caused by laying the foundations on the wrong date.  The hotel's construction was delayed by a series of mishaps, including cost overruns, injuries to laborers, and the loss of a shipload of Italian marble intended for the building. Furthermore, the Ratchaprasong Intersection had once been used to put criminals on public display.

An astrologer advised building the shrine to counter the negative influences. The Brahma statue was designed and built by the Department of Fine Arts and enshrined on 9 November 1956. The hotel's construction thereafter proceeded without further incident. In 1987, the hotel was demolished and the site used for the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel.

Phra Phrom is also known to admire Thai classical music, which is played near larger scale outdoor altars, accompanied by  dancers. At The Erawan Shrine, A popular tourist attraction often features performances by resident Thai dance troupes, who are hired by worshipers in return for seeing their prayers at the shrine answered.

dancer ready to perform
Worshipers of Phra Phrom are also usually advised to abstain from consuming meat. It is also believed that worshipers have to make good on any promises made to the deity else misfortune will befall them instead of the fortune that was asked for.

Thai dancers at Erawan Shrine Bangkok
On 21 March 2006, a man vandalized the shrine and was killed by bystanders. However, two months after the incident a new Brahma statue was completed and placed in the shrine on 21 May 2006

Phra Phrom is colloquially known outside Thailand as the four-faced Buddha (四面佛, Sìmiàn fó) by overseas Chinese worshipers, especially in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan where worship of Phra Phrom is popular.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erawan_Shrine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phra_Phrom

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