Hindu Shrines amidst Bangkok's shopping centers.
See Location Map for Hindu Shrines
Indra Shrine in front of Amarin shopping center.
Despite the fact that most Thais are Buddhist, there are a substantial number of Hindu Shrines in Bangkok. A total of at least six are located close to the Rajaprasong Intersection. It seems to be that all major enterprises close to this intersection have seen the need to erect different Hindu shrines. The best well known is of course the Erawan Shrine. However all other can easily be reached by strolling around, and at each shrine you will always see at least a few worshippers.
While worshippers turn to the each of the shrines with different objectives in mind, a simple general explanation is that the Hindu shrines have a protective function. If one is erected on the opposite side of the road to direct unwanted influences away, it is somehow advised to construct your own shrine, otherwise these negative forces might arrive at your property.
Narayana astride Garuda in front of Intercontinental Hotel, Bangkok
We have covered the Erawan Shrine already. Closeby in front of the Amarin shopping complex is a shrine dedicated to Indra. It is adjacent to an entrance to the Chitlom skytrain station. The goddess holds a thunderbolt and a bow in her hands. In modern Hinduism Indra has become one of the minor deities. However Indra is important in many tales and sagas. People in Thailand turn to Indra for happiness.
Crossing the skybridge in front of the Indra shrine, we arrive in front of the Intercontinental Hotel. There is a statue of Narayana standing astride Garuda. This statue is artistically of value, but not colored or gilded like all the other deities around Rajaprasong intersection. Thai worshippers turn to Narayana (Vishnu) for prosperity. There is no clear shrine though constructed around the statue.
Lakshmi Shrine on the fourth floor of Gaysorn Plaza
Closeby at the corner is the famous Gaysorn Plaza luxury shopping center. You can not see it at all from street level, but on the fourth floor (take the elevator) there is a small shrine dedicated to Lakshmi. You may need some guidance to find it. Interestingly, there is a balcony at the fourth floor level of Gaysorn Plaza, and you have an interesting view from there over the skytrain construction, and surrounding building such as the Central World Plaza. Thai people turn to Lakshmi for wealth, although this is the only shrine where we did not notice any worshippers, it is supposedly too well hidden.
Central World Plaza, at the time of our visit, still had a lot of construction going on, and we think they did move one of the Hindu shrines close to Rajaprasong intersection towards the other side of the Plaza in front of the shopping center. Now there are two shrines located in front of Isetan department store. They are dedicated to Trimurti and Ganesha respectively.
In Hinduism, Trimurti represents the three aspects of God. The three aspects are Brahma (the Source/Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver/Indwelling-life) and Shiva (the Transformer -Destroyer/Creator). There is some resemblance here with the concept of Trinity in Christianity. For some reason, not entirely related to what are the teachings of Hinduism, the Trimurti Shrine in Bangkok is particularly popular with youngsters who come to ask for romance and loving relationships.
Trimurti Shrine in front of Isetan at Central World Plaza
The Ganesha Shrine is located adjacent to the Trimurti Shrine. In Hinduism, Ganesha is the son of Shiva and Parvati. Ganesh is considered a master of intellect and wisdom. The deity is one the more recognizable (at least for non-Hindus) because of its one-tusked elephant head. His attendant is a mouse. Ganesha is a composite figure. Besides its elephant head, it also has human components (like his many arms) and serpent components. Classically the deity is depicted as big-bellied. Visitors to the shrine in front of Central World Plaza, are looking for artistic success and accomplishment.
Ganesha Shrine in front of Isetan (Central World Plaza)
All the above mentioned shrines are located close to each other, and amidst some of Bangkok's best known shopping centers. An easy access point is the Chitlom skytrain station.
View Bangkok's Hindu Shrines in a larger map