Erawan Shrine

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The Erawan Shrine (2006) Erawan statue restored.jpg
The Erawan Shrine (2006)
Closer view of the four-faced Brahma (Phra Phrom) statue Thai 4 Buddies.jpg
Closer view of the four-faced Brahma (Phra Phrom) statue
View of the shrine from the Skytrain Erawan-Schrein top.jpg
View of the shrine from the Skytrain

The Erawan Shrine, formally the Thao Maha Phrom Shrine (Thai : ศาลท้าวมหาพรหม; RTGS: San Thao Maha Phrom; "Shrine of Lord Brahma the Great"), is a shrine in Bangkok, Thailand which houses a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. It often features performances by Thai dance troupes who are hired by worshippers in return for seeing their prayers answered at the shrine. A bomb exploded near the shrine on 17 August 2015, killing 20 and injuring 125 more. [1]

Thai language language spoken in Thailand

Thai, Central Thai, is the sole official and national language of Thailand and the first language of the Central Thai people and vast majority of Thai Chinese. It is a member of the Tai group of the Kra–Dai language family. Over half of Thai vocabulary is derived from or borrowed from Pali, Sanskrit, Mon and Old Khmer. It is a tonal and analytic language, similar to Chinese and Vietnamese.

The Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS) is the official system for rendering Thai words in the Latin alphabet. It was published by the Royal Institute of Thailand.

Bangkok Special administrative area in Thailand

Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep. The city occupies 1,568.7 square kilometres (605.7 sq mi) in the Chao Phraya River delta in central Thailand, and has a population of over eight million, or 12.6 percent of the country's population. Over fourteen million people lived within the surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region at the 2010 census, making Bangkok the nation's primate city, significantly dwarfing Thailand's other urban centres in terms of importance.

Contents

Location

The shrine is near the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, at the Ratchaprasong intersection of Ratchadamri Road in Lumphini Subdistrict, Pathum Wan District. It is near the BTS Skytrain's Chit Lom Station, which has an elevated walkway overlooking the shrine. The area has many shopping malls nearby, including Gaysorn, CentralWorld, and Amarin Plaza.

Hyatt owner, operator, and franchiser of hotels, resorts, and vacation properties

Hyatt Hotels Corporation is an American multinational hospitality company that manages and franchises luxury hotels, resorts, and vacation properties. The Hyatt Corporation came into being upon purchase of the Hyatt House, at Los Angeles International Airport, on September 27, 1957. As of March 25, 2018, Hyatt has 777 properties in 54 countries. Fortune magazine ranked Hyatt #186 on its list of "America's Best Employers" for 2018.

Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok, Thailand

Ratchaprasong is the name of an intersection, and a shopping district named after it, in Pathum Wan District, Bangkok, adjacent to Siam area. Located at the BTS Skytrain's Chit Lom Station and the intersection of Phloen Chit, Rama I, and Ratchadamri Roads. The area is home to many shopping malls and hotels.

Ratchadamri Road street in Bangkok, Thailand

Ratchadamri Road is a road in Bangkok. It runs a distance of 2.3 kilometres (1.4 mi) in a north–south direction from Pratu Nam Intersection, where it meets Phetchaburi and Ratchaprarop Roads, to Sala Daeng Intersection, where it meets Rama IV and Si Lom Roads, forming the boundary between the Pathum Wan and Lumphini Subdistricts of Pathum Wan District. It passes through Ratchaprasong Intersection at the heart of Bangkok's main shopping district, as well as the green open spaces of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club and Lumphini Park, making its eponymous neighbourhood one of the top prime real estate locations in Bangkok.

Five other shrines dedicated to Hindu deities are located in the area as well: Phra Laksami (Lakshmi), Phra Trimurati (Trimurti), Phra Khanet (Ganesha), Phra In (Indra), and Phra Narai Song Suban (Narayana on his garuda). [2] [3] [4]

Lakshmi Hindu Goddess of Wealth and Fortune

Lakshmi or Laxmi, is the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. She is the wife and shakti (energy) of Vishnu, one of the principal deities of Hinduism and the Supreme Being in the Vaishnavism Tradition. With Parvati and Saraswati, she forms Tridevi, the holy trinity. Lakshmi is also an important deity in Jainism and found in Jain temples. Lakshmi has also been a goddess of abundance and fortune for Buddhists, and was represented on the oldest surviving stupas and cave temples of Buddhism. In Buddhist sects of Tibet, Nepal and southeast Asia, goddess Vasudhara mirrors the characteristics and attributes of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi with minor iconographic differences.

Trimurti trinity of supreme divinity in Hinduism; personifies cosmic creation/maintenance/destruction: Brahmā (creator), Viṣṇu (preserver), Śiva (destroyer); arose in the Puranic period as a synthesis of orthodox Brahmanism with Śaivism, Vaiṣṇavism, & �

The Trimūrti is the Triple deity of supreme divinity in Hinduism in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified as a triad of deities, typically Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer, though individual denominations may vary from that particular line-up. When all three deities of the Trimurti incarnate into a single avatar, the avatar is known as Dattatreya.

Ganesha Hindu god of new beginnings, success, and wisdom

Ganesha, also known as Ganapati, Vinayaka or by numerous other names, is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Thailand, Bali (Indonesia), Bangladesh and Nepal. Hindu denominations worship him regardless of affiliations. Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends to Jains and Buddhists.

History

People praying at Erawan Shrine Bangkok (2018) People praying at Erawan Shrine 2018.jpg
People praying at Erawan Shrine Bangkok (2018)

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. [5] In 1987, the hotel was demolished and the site used for the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. [6]

2006 vandalism

Thanakorn Pakdeepol destroyed the statue with a hammer in the early hours of 21 March 2006; he was then beaten to death by angry bystanders. Two street sweepers were arrested and charged [7] with the fatal beating. [8] Witnesses said that Pakdeepol stood on the base of the statue and smashed the hollow statue of Brahma to pieces with a large hammer, fragmenting the four-faced head, torso, six arms, and weapons. Only part of the lap and the base were left intact. The incident occurred at about 1 a.m. [9]

Doctors performed an autopsy of Pakdeepol and found Arabic characters tattooed on his back and arms, prompting police to investigate whether the attack had a religious motive and whether the vandal had ties to Muslim extremists. [10] However, the vandal's father Sayant Pakdeepol said that his son had received treatment for psychiatric problems and that mental illness was the cause of the attack. He described the fatal beating of his son as an "overreaction". "Doing something like this is not the act of people with good beliefs, of those with real faith in Brahma", Sayyant told The Nation newspaper. "Murder is an immoral act and people with morality would not have done what they did". [11]

Arabic alphabet alphabet codified for writing the Arabic language

The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing Arabic. It is written from right to left in a cursive style and includes 28 letters. Most letters have contextual letterforms.

The Nation is a broadsheet, English-language daily newspaper founded in 1971 and published in Bangkok, Thailand. It is one of two English-language dailies in Bangkok, the other being the Bangkok Post.

In the days immediately after the destruction of the Erawan Shrine, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra visited and paid his respects to the broken fragments of the Hindu deity. A white cloth was used to conceal the absence of the statue. Officials later reopened the site to the public, displaying photographs of the statue so that worshippers could pay their respects. [5] [8] [12] At a rally on the following day, government critic Sondhi Limthongkul charged that the destruction of the statue was a plot by the Prime Minister to maintain his political power through black magic. However, Thanakorn's father rejected the claim, telling The Nation that Limthongkul "is the biggest liar I have ever seen." [11]

A new Brahma statue was placed in the shrine on 21 May 2006 at 11:39, the moment when the sun was directly above it. Officials with the Religious Affairs Department and the Maha Brahma Foundation said that it was made of plaster with a mixture of gold, bronze, and other precious metals, along with fragments of the original statue. Another duplicate statue made entirely of metal was cast in the same mold and is kept in the national museum. [13]

2015 bombing

On 17 August 2015, at 18:55 local time, an explosive device composed of three kilograms of TNT stuffed in a metal pipe and wrapped in white cloth inside a backpack, detonated near Erawan Shrine, killing 20 people and injuring 125. [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] Bomb disposal units checked two suspicious objects but found no other bombs. [20] An analyst with IHS Jane's hypothesized that the attack had been carried out by the Pan-Turkic Turkish ultra-nationalist organization Grey Wolves in retaliation for Thailand's deportation of Uyghur terrorist suspects back to China instead of allowing them to travel to Turkey for asylum. [21]

The bomb was placed in the shrine grounds next to a metal railing. The statue was slightly damaged. [22] Within two days all repairs had been completed and the shrine reopened. Rather than being commended for the swift reopening of the shrine, the government's actions have been subject to criticism. [23] [24] The government's perceived lack of progress in the investigation has stimulated critics to propose a number of theories as to who is responsible for the bombing, including elements of the government itself. [21]

See also

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References

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Coordinates: 13°44′39″N100°32′27.5″E / 13.74417°N 100.540972°E / 13.74417; 100.540972