Went on a bit of a journey today to find Erawan Shrine. Ended up taking the wrong exit out of the SkyTrain station. The woman who directed me said go straight for a long time til I see the Hyatt hotel. I went straight for a long time. The wrong direction. Silly, as it actually is just outside the Chit Lom Sky train station! Ah well, Got to see the concrete jungle of downtown Bangkok, though. And a totally fancy mall. It had Gucchi and Prada stores and I didn’t see a single customer inside the entire mall! Not sure how it stays in business. But it was probably the nicest public toilet I’ve ever been in!
I learned that security guards are super helpful. AND they know where everything is. I actually wonder if they are a bit bored because I spoke with three of them and they all seemed to have a grateful demeanour and pulled out maps to give me the visual!! Passing on that little nugget of lost nomads in a foreign country!
Eventually I found a shrine. It was tiny and squished beside a 7-11! Super cute, though, with white elephants and a beautiful God.
But, the tourist information booth just beside it told me it was the wrong shrine. And pointed me in the direction of Erawan Shrine.
Erawan Shrine fascinated me as I was researching what to do in Bangkok because it was a monument to a four headed deity…. Based on the Hindu God of Creation, Brahma. In Thai it’s called Thao Mahaprom Shrine. It was named Erawan as it was originally erected in the 1950’s on the site of the Erawan Hotel (now the Hyatt) as a way of blessing a construction site that labourers refused to continue work on as it they were concerned the land spirits were unhappy.
Well, I could hear Erawan Shrine before I got close enough to see it. There was a lot of drumming and cymbals clanging in a very calming yet celebratory rhythm. I could see the vendors selling flowers, incense and rose shaped vegetables as offerings to the Buddhist deities. As I approached the shrine, I could smell the incense. It floated and wafted on the air like a silken sheet.
There was a troupe of dancers dancing the best of the drum and cymbals that made a pyramid of people and had three Chinese dragons as well. They circled the shrine and danced away. After their dance concluded, I noticed a troupe of female Thai dancers gracefully serenading people praying to the shrine. Their beautiful headdresses and costumes were surpassed only by the sheer elegance of their hand and body movements. Gorgeous. The Thai traditional dancers are apparently there regularly to add to the blessings and offerings of Buddhists at the sight. There was certainly a huge line up to be blessed by the dancers.
I watched a few people light incense from lamps that were conveniently spread around the circular section, pray and give their offerings. The gold deity was spectacular, though admittedly much smaller than I anticipated.
A good find in the heart of Bangkok.