Shrines of Ratchaprasong
The Nine Shrines of Ratchaprasong
Posted by Peter C on July 30th, 2019 in Thai Culture
Nine Shrines of Ratchaprasong
The Nine Shrines of Ratchaprasong are dedicated to various Hindu, Brahmin & Buddhist gods & goddesses. There are NINE shrines in all and you can visit all of them and pray for good fortune, success in business & even love! Ratchaprasong is the heart of Bangkok?s commercial center containing most of Bangkok?s most popular shopping malls. All of the shrines are located within minutes of each other around the Ratchaprasong intersection, also known as the Intersection of the gods.
Where are the Nine Shrines of Ratchaprasong?
The first eight are located inside or outside shopping malls or hotels. The ninth is actually on the grounds of the police headquarters. The challenge is to visit all of the nine shrines of Ratchaprasong in one day, for Buddhist worshipers it?s an auspicious way of making merit. The number nine is considered the luckiest number in Thailand. It means to progress, so visiting nine shrines in one day is a way of bringing good fortune & moving forward positively in life.
The Erawan Shrine also known as Tao Maha Phrom Shrine is the most well known of the nine shrines of Ratchaprasong. Its one of Thailand?s most sacred shrines & one of Bangkoks most visited tourist sites attracting large crowds every day. The Erawan Shrine features Brahma the god of creation. He is the king of the gods. Brahma has four heads & four hands. He is armed with four sacred items and weapons to ward off evil. The Brahma at Erawan carries magic beads, a magical water jug, a lotus blossom & holy scripts. The image is made from gold.
It is believed that Brahma decides the fate of every living creature by using the karma of each individual as a tool to measure worthiness in this life and the afterlife. He instills in people to live with oneself and not take life for granted. Compassion for others and giving without exception.
How to Pray
Each of the four faces of Brahma at Erawan has a meaning. The front face is Career, the left face is Romance, the back face is Money and the right face is Health.
Buy flowers, joss sticks & candles. You should buy these inside the shrine. There are also stalls on the street outside.
Brahma has four faces. You need to pray to each one. Start at the one which is facing the shrine entrance and continue clockwise. You need to place 1 candle, 1 bunch of flowers, and 3 joss sticks at the altar in front of each face after praying. After praying to all four, make a wish.
If your prayers are answered you should return to the shrine to thank Brahma. It is customary to buy a gift such as an elephant image and put them on the table in front of the god. Serious worshipers who have had their prayers answered hire the shrine dancers to dance behind them while they kneel, pray, and give thanks.
The Erawan Shrine is on the corner at the intersection of Ploenchit & Ratchadamri Roads between Erawan Plaza and the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. It is open from 06.00 to 23.00 daily.
The Ganesha Shrine also known as Phra Phikanet Shrine is at the front of Central World Mall. The Elephant headed, human bodied Ganesha is the god of success renowned for his intelligence, power, and virtue. He is the son of the god of destruction and the goddess of compassion. Ganesha carries a short-handled trident, a broken tusk, rope, and beads, with a snake around his belly to signify power from within. Ganesha is believed to protect those involved in education and the arts. He is especially worshiped by musicians, actors, writers, and students to bring success in their work and studies.
How to Pray
In front of the shrine is a plaque in English translating a mantra that should be spoken three times when praying to Ganesha. Nine joss sticks should be offered along with fruits such as banana, apple, mango or coconut. Also, Thai Sweets, flowers ( marigold, Chinese rose, and chrysanthemum) and small elephant statues. Meat should not be offered. The shrine is accessible 24 hours a day.
The Trimurti Shrine
Trimurti is known as the god of love. It’s a combination of three gods. Brahma the creator, Vishnu the protector & Shiva the destroyer. The image has five heads with one on top of the other four. Anyone who wants to be successful, especially in love, romance and relationships worship this image. The image is tall, sleek and handsome and wears golden armor. It is one of the most popular of the nine shrines of ratchaprasong.
It is believed that the god of love comes down to earth on Tuesday & Thursday morning at 09.30 am and again at 21.30 in the evening. The shrine is particularly busy at these times as loveless Thai’s believe he will listen to their request.
How to Pray
To pray at the shrine you need to make offerings of red candles, red drinks, nine red roses & nine red incense sticks. Remove your shoes before reciting a traditional prayer that is inscribed on a plaque. The prayer requests for you to be blessed with love. Light the incense or candles, open a bottle of red Fanta (make sure you put a straw in it) for Trimurti and leave the roses along the front of the shrine. There are vendors selling packs of roses and incense.
If you find love, you have to come back to offer the shrine sweets or coconut water to say thank you. If you don’t, love could be taken away. The shrine is open for 24 hours daily.
Umathevi is the goddess of compassion and can be found sitting outside the front of the Big C Rajdamri superstore opposite Central World. She is the wife of Shiva the god of destruction and is renowned for her strong devotion to her husband and family. People that seek strength in family matters come to worship Umathevi. The shrine is popular with women.
How to Pray
At the Umathevi Shrine, you can leave flowers, fruit, and incense as an offering. Do not leave clothes or meat as offerings. The shrine is accessible 24 hours a day.
Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth & fortune & is one of the three most powerful goddesses. She is renowned for her beauty and is worshiped for good luck in wealth, fortune, and success in business negotiations. The Lakshmi Shrine can be found on the fourth-floor rooftop of Gaysorn Village Mall opposite Central World. The image has four arms and is mounted on a large golden lotus blossom base. Lakshmi is holding two lotus blossoms wrapped in bracelets and wears a long green gown. A beautiful golden crown adorns her head while strings of pearls hang from her body. Below the base is a circular waterway with running water containing floating lotus flowers.
How to Pray
You can pray with 9 joss sticks and a pink lotus flower. If your prayers are answered you should return and make an offering of cane juice, coconut or sweets. The shrine is open daily from 10.00-22.00.
The Jatulokbal Shrine is the newest of the nine shrines of Ratchaprasong. Jatulokbal is the god of four directions, protector of north, south, east and west. Jatulokbal is a combination of four of the most powerful gods rolled into one. His aim is to ensure that peace reigns on earth and to offer protection from danger and evil. The four gods are Vesuwan, Kuvera, Thao & Todtarode. They are each represented by one of the four faces. Each god looks after the direction he is facing. Jatulokbal is worshiped by those in danger or who hold dangerous jobs.
The other role of Jatulokbal is that of the protector of the Buddhist religion. In his eight arms, Jatulokbal holds a sword, spear, conch shell, a disc, a bag of gold coins, and a scepter. The color of the statue is an attractive shade of blue mixed with gold. The shrine is on the fourth-floor outdoor terrace at Gaysorn Village opposite Central World. It?s just around the corner from Lakshmi.
How to Pray
At the shrine pray for luck, power, & protection, by lighting incense. Horse and elephant statues are also popular offerings. If you are going on a journey, you can ask for protection, as Jatulokbal looks out over every direction. The shrine is open from 10.00-22.00.
Indra is the god of thunder and his image can be found in front of Amarin Plaza Mall which is next to Erawan Plaza at the Ratchaprasong Intersection. He is regarded as being the bringer of daylight, the force that makes water flow and champion of the earth, wind, and sea. He is also a protector of heaven with the power to change into any shape and size. The image outside Amarin is green with golden embellishment and made from solid jade. Indra has four arms. In his hands, he carries a dagger, a trident, a bow, and a conch shell. If you look closely you will see he has a large pair of ears as you can see on many Buddha images in Thailand. The Indra shrine is highly revered amongst Thai Buddhists.
How to Pray
To pray at the Shrine you make an offering of marigold flowers, Jasmine, model elephants, and incense sticks. People who worship at the shrine pray for prosperity and protection from evil. The flowers and incense sticks are available from the shrines attendant. You should bring an elephant with you. The shrine is popular with local office workers. It is open 24 hours.
The Narayana Shrine is in front of the Intercontinental Hotel, next to Gaysorn Village and Opposite Amarin Plaza. Narayana (Vishnu) is the god of protection looking after the earth, heaven & hell using his power to ensure that good prevails over evil. He is accompanied by the sacred Garuda. It is believed that Narayana can appear in many different forms with the Lord Buddha one of them. The image of Narayana at the Intercontinental stands on the shoulders of the sacred god Garuda. The mighty bird-like Garuda is a mythological Hindu/Buddhist figure that is one of the cultural symbols of Thailand. The four-armed Narayana is carrying a disc, mace, conch, and lotus.
How to Pray
If you pray to Narayana you should make offerings of water, flowers, incense, and fruit. Elephant statues are also acceptable. People pray for protection from evil, as they believe Narayana will protect them. The shrine is open 24 hours.
Phra Narai Shrine
The last of the nine shrines of Ratchaprasong is the Phra Narai (Vishnu) Shrine. It is on the grounds of the Royal Thai Police headquarters on Rama 1 Road opposite Wat Pathum Waranam. Although you won?t read about it in other Ratchaprasong guides it is easily accessible and completely unknown to tourists. You have to pass through security at the main entrance to the police headquarters but its no problem. Just tell them you want to see the shrine. This is the second Vishnu shrine after the one outside the Intercontinental hotel.
Phra Narai stands on a coiled five-headed Naga on a platform in the middle of a pond. He holds a conch shell, a disc, a spear, and a mace. He is often wearing a golden robe and the statue is adorned with garlands.
How to Pray
The routine is similar to the Narayana Shrine. You should pray and make offerings of water, flowers, incense, milk and fruit. Elephant statues are also acceptable. The shrine is mostly used by policemen who believe that Vishnu will protect them in their duties. The shrine is open during office hours.
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