Thai spirit houses

The built environment is like visual storytelling. Structure not only provides habitat, but it also reflects cultural beliefs and values. While some cultures build their homes around spirits, homes are built FOR spirits in Thailand. Failure to appease the spirits is said to cause disarray as what had happened with the unfortunate Erawan Shrine and the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok.


The area around Erawan Shrine and Raiphrasong intersection in central Bangkok has a long-reported history of unexplained incidents. It all started in the 1950s at the start of the construction of the Erawan Hotel. It was named after the elephant escort of Indra in Hindu mythology. It was designed as a luxury hotel, rivalling others throughout Asia. The project had a string of misfortune from the start; construction costs went well beyond the original budget, workers were getting hurt or killed on-site and to top it off, the ship that was carrying the expensive marble for the hotel from Italy, sunk to the bottom of the ocean! The project owners pursued spiritual advice from a Brahman priest. The consult said that the area was plagued with misfortune and bad karma due to unhappy spirits. They were advised that to rectify the issue, the spirits would need to be appeased. The only way to do this was to construct a significant shrine and make offerings. The priest determined that Erawan (the elephant) needed a passenger, so the statue chosen was Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. The Thai government agreed to step in and assist with the shrine. It was designed and constructed under the direction of the Department of Fine Arts. In 1956 it was blessed and soon the misfortunes miraculously ended.


The area around Erawan Shrine and Raiphrasong intersection in central Bangkok has a long-reported history of unexplained incidents. It all started in the 1950s at the start of the construction of the Erawan Hotel. It was named after the elephant escort of Indra in Hindu mythology. It was designed as a luxury hotel, rivalling others throughout Asia. The project had a string of misfortune from the start; construction costs went well beyond the original budget, workers were getting hurt or killed on-site and to top it off, the ship that was carrying the expensive marble for the hotel from Italy, sunk to the bottom of the ocean! The project owners pursued spiritual advice from a Brahman priest. The consult said that the area was plagued with misfortune and bad karma due to unhappy spirits. They were advised that to rectify the issue, the spirits would need to be appeased. The only way to do this was to construct a significant shrine and make offerings. The priest determined that Erawan (the elephant) needed a passenger, so the statue chosen was Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. The Thai government agreed to step in and assist with the shrine. It was designed and constructed under the direction of the Department of Fine Arts. In 1956 it was blessed and soon the misfortunes miraculously ended.

What do you think? Are the spirits still upset and something further needs to be done to appease them again, or are there too many coincidences that lead to a conspiracy theory? (I could be up all night writing about what I found in coincidences). Or is it simply a very busy area with a high probability of accidents due to crowds, political unrest and an area prone to terrorist attacks (due to crowds)?



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