We were going to the Hyatt Erawan Tea Rooms for afternoon High Tea and as we approached the hotel we saw a beautiful shrine adjoining the hotel. It was a special holy day and there were many people lighting incense sticks and in worship. There was a group of beautifully dressed dancers celebrating the day, the shrine had a slight smoke haze. It was worth spending some time to observe and enjoy this most important part of Thai culture.
Erawan Shrine is located opposite the World Trade Centre, and walking distance if you are coming from Pratunam, MBK or Siam square.
Pay 20 Thai Baht to the person who's selling the incense sticks and candles and flowers.
Start in a clockwise direction from the entrance of the shrine, offering the flowers, candles and incense sticks to the 4-faced Budhha at the 4 corners.
Sometimes, you would catch Thai dancers there. I managed to catch a quick snapshot of them.
In 1953, the Thai Hotel and Tourism Co. started the construction of Erawan Hotel. When it was near completion in 1956, the management consulted an astrologer for an auspicious date for its grand opening. As it turned out, the astrologer pointed out that the date when the foundation stone was laid was not suitable, and advised that a Brahman shrine and a guardian spirit shrine should be built to correct the error.
The management brought in the Dept. of Fine Arts to design and build the statue of Brahma according to the traditions of the department. The gilded plaster statue was enshrined at the Erawan Hotel on November 9, 1956.
Both Thai and foreign visitors come to play their respects at the Shrine, which is widely known as the Erawan shrine. The number of worshippers is increasing every year. They come to pray to Brahma to grant their wishes, or simply to enjoy the exotic sights, sounds and atmosphere. It has been claimed that the shrine is very potent and usually wishes will come true...but in doing so, you must come back every year to pay your homage.
The original Erawan Shrine was destroyed by a demented man in March 2006. A replacement was quickly built and the Shrine re-opened to great fanfare in May 2006.
Both Thais and foreign visitors come to pay their respects at Erawan Shrine.
People offer colorful flower garlands, lotus, incense and candles.
If your wish has been granted, you will come back with donations of teak elephants or pay the classical Thai dancers and live orchestra to perform to the gods.
San Phra Phrom or Erawan Shrine was created as a spirit house connected to the Erawan Hotel, which has now made way for the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The forces of the typical Thai spirit house didn't seem effective enough during the building of the hotel, so spiritual persons advised that it should be replaced with the four-headed image of Brahma or Phra Phrom in Thai. There have been no further hitches since then, and the shrine has became famous for bringing good fortune. The name Erawan comes from Brahma's thirty-three headed elephant.
People offer colourful flower garlands, lotus, incense and candles. Often, if a wish has been granted, people thank the spirits by donating teak elephants or commissioning the classical Thai dancers and live orchestra.
Erawan Shine is located at the junction of Ratchadamri Road and Phloenchit Road
How to get there
Skytrain to Siam Square if you are from the Silom Line or skytrain to Chit Lom Station if you are in Sukhumvit Line.
I took the Skytrain from Sala Daeng to Siam Square which cost me 15 baht for single journey.
Price for the dancer to dance for you
2 dancers = 260 Baht
4 dancers = 360 Baht
6 dancers = 610 Baht
8 dancers = 710 Baht
Offering to the god will cost you from 50 Baht and above.
"San Phra Phrom or Erawan Shrine was created as a spirit house connected to the Erawan Hotel, which has now made way for the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. The forces of the typical Thai spirit house didn't seem effective enough during the building of the hotel, so spiritual persons advised that it should be replaced with the four-headed image of Brahma or Phra Phrom in Thai. There have been no further hitches since then, and the shrine has became famous for bringing good fortune. The name Erawan comes from Brahma's thirty-three headed elephant."
Above are taken from www.thailandguidebook.com
This shrine was constructed to warn off bad luck after construction incidents at the Erawan hotel nearby. This is a very popular shrine-which is covered in garlands of flowers. There is a wonderful strong aroma of incense that surrounds the shrine. Many Thai use gold leaf and make an offering-by placing the gold on the wooden elephants. After an act of good luck they will come here to say thanks. They or you can even hire a group of dancers to thank the spirits. They are always there-if you are interested in taking photos.
Dwarfed by the modern buildings, next to a busy road and in the shadow of the Skytrain the Erawan Shrine is one of those wonderful contrasts that you find in Bangkok. Step inside the small complex and it is easy to set aside the modern concrete city around you and concentrate on the traditional customs of worship.
The shrine was built as a spirit house ? home to the guardian of the place/building ? for the Erawan Hotel. Now it is a busy focus for worshippers who come to making offerings of flowers and incense or who commission short performances by the traditional dancers and musicians to give thanks for their good fortune. Outside the shrine caged birds are sold ? releasing them is supposed to bring good luck ? and tickets bought from the lottery sellers are also considered lucky.
Incense drifts lazily across the shrine like mist, its heady smell combining with the sound of instruments to create an almost dreamlike atmosphere, heightening emotions. Walk away from the shrine and back into the bustling city and it?s easy to imagine that the shrine is a mirage. This was one of the first places we visited in Bangkok and it was an evocative introduction to the city.
It's worth hanging around to watch the dancers at the Erawan Shrine as there is often someone who wants to "make merit" by paying the dancers to dance. Apparently this is often done as a "thank you" for recent good fortune. It's quite expensive - several hundred baht for a few minutes, but chances are if you hang around for a little while, someone will pay and there's no charge for watching!
There's a great page on this shrine at the excellent Thailand Guidebook website:
This Four-Faced Buddha literally has four faces which represent the Face of Peace and Health, Face of Good Relationships, Face of Fortune and Face of Protection Against Evil.
It is located at Erawan Shrine at the corner of Ratchdamri Road, about a kilometer away from Siam Square. The place is popular among tourists and visited daily by many local Thais offering their prayers which is why the place could get crowded at times. It is a local belief that prayers get answered when one prays to this Buddha. Around the corner is a performance of a Thai classical dance which, accordingly, were hired mostly by those people whose prayers have been answered as a sign of thanksgiving.
The Erawan Shrine was built after several workers lost their lives in mysterious accidents during the construction of the Erawan Hotel. No further accident occured after the construction. This place is always crowded with worshippers and Thai dancers.
Even in the middle of a commercial district you will come across little bit of Thai-ness. A great example is the colourful Erawan Shrine, next to the Grand Hyatt hotel, and diagonally opposite the World Trade Center shopping mall. In addition to those making offerings, there is also a team of Thai dancers who will dance for a fee.
Interestingly, the statue in the shrine is a Brahma statue, not Buddha.
Definitely worth a detour.
UPDATE: The Shrine is currently closed due to vandalism (as of 21 March 2006) - but is due to re-open on 21 May following restoration work.
Erawan Shrine is located in front of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, this highly revered shrine was erected in 1956. Dedicated to the Hindu God, this shrine teems all day long with devotees asking for luck & other favors.
ERAWAN SHRINE Phra Phrom, this shrine teems all day long with devotees from here and abroad, some asking for luck and other favours. A magnificent image of the Brahma God was especially cast and gilded, and The Erawan Hotel opened to acclaims and worldwide fame for three dacades. Towards the end, the property could not compete with more modern facilities, and was replaced by the privately owned Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok in 1991.
A place not to be miss if one wants to take pictures of classical dancers. This spirit house next to the Hyatt hotel is crowded all day round with worshippers. On the neighbouring sidewalk one can find the typical prayer kit for 100 bath (07/2006). Candle, flower garland, incense stick and a small gold leaf. The rail surrounding the image of Brahma disapears under the flowers, the air is unbreathable by smoke. Those who's wishes have been granted come back here to pay a dance for the statue. Members of a classical dance school are on the spot. Price depend of the number of dancers. Good opportunity to observe and take pictures at day light.