Fertility Shrine - Nai Lert Park, Bangkok
Formally called The Goddess Tuptim Shrine (Chao Mae Tuptim), this is one tourist sight in Bangkok like no other in the World. The "Lonely Planet" listed this as a "Quirky Bangkok" tip (though the Hilton Hotel has since changed hands and been renamed, the Nai Lert Park Hotel).
Trust me, quirky hasn't even begun to describe it. This is a shrine that is full of phalluses (or lingams)!
The origin of the shrine is obscured. It can only be recalled that a spirit house was built by the Nai Lert for the spirit believed to habitate the ficus tree at the spot. It has been claimed that childless couples come to the Shrine to pray for kids. Basic offerings are fragrant wreaths of jasmine, incense sticks and pink and white lotus buds. Through the years, devotees have donated, small and large, stylised and highly realistic phalluses to the Shrine by the thousands (almost like a mini land of er...male anatomy parts), creating a rather unique (and eye-popping) display and further enhancing its reputation!
Get off at Ploenchit BTS Station, and make your way down Wireless Road, walking past both the Swiss and British embassies. Eventually you will reach the Nai Lert Thai Hotel. Turn right after the security post (tell the guards that you're there to see the Shrine), walk up to the Concierge desk outside the Hotel, turn right again to go down a flight of stairs into the loading bay below and keep on walking towards the end (with the river by you) and you'll stumble upon the Shrine.
This is truely off the beaten path kind of site. The small shrine is a small area located at the back corner of Swissotel Nai Lert Park (formerly Raffles Hotel). It is built next to a tall ficus tree, of which the spirit of goddes Tuptim resides. The area is shaded and seems a bit quiet and eerie.
Goddess Tuptim is believed to be a fertility goddess. Her devotees come with white jasmine flowers and pink lotus bud to pray for babies. Once a person's wish becomes reality, she would present a male genital sculpture in return. Hence the shrine and the area surrounding it is full of sculptures in the shape of penises. They come is different sizes and materials.
To get there: take Skytrain to Phloen Chit (E2) station. Walk to the direction of Siam Paragon and turn right on Witthayu (Wireless Road). About 5 minutes walk down the road, Swissotel Nai Lert Park is on your left (opposite to Switzerland Embassy). When you enter the hotel compound, ask the doorman, he will show you the way leading to the staffs dormitory area and the shrine is beyond the staff dorm by the river.
Hidden behind the Swissotel Nai Lert Park in Bangkok is a small shrine known as Chao Mae Tuptim, or Goddess Tuptim Shrine. The shrine contains a typical Thai spirit house, shaded by several large trees and situated beside a canal. What makes this shrine unique, as well as infamous, is that it contains several dozen wooden phalluses of various sizes sticking up out of the ground. The largest ones are as high was 3 meters, and many are wrapped with colored scarves.
Though the origins of the shrine are unclear, the erotic symbols are clearly derived from Tantric beliefs within Hinduism and Buddhism. Local beliefs state that women who are hoping to become fertile for pregnancy can pray at this shrine, and that if their wish is fulfilled, then they should return to place yet another phallus at the shrine as a symbol of thanks.
This shrine is truly off the beaten path, as it does not appear in most tourist guides or maps and there are no signs leading the way to it. The path to the shrine passes by the side service entrance of the hotel. Simply go to the concierge at the Swissotel and ask for the way to the shrine.
Swissotel Nai Lert Park is located at 2 Wireless Road, within walking distance of two BTS SkyTrain stations, Chitlom and Ploenchit Stations.
The phallus is the symbol of fertility. Many Thai women, who want children will place offerings or more lingams at the shrine. Many of the phallus line the pathways and gardens -like mini fences.
Located at the back of the Swissotel's Nai Lert Hotel(originally Hilton). This is very hard. We walked onto the grounds, which had a guard and went right to the concierge. I thought he would kick us out, but told us to follow the service entrance to the shrine.
Located Nai Loet Park, Th Withaya. BTS Chitlom or Ploenchit
This shrine is located just behind the Swiss Hotel in Nai Lert Park. It seems to be a popular place to come and pray for children.