Erawan Shrine statue restored
At the auspicious time of 11.39am yesterday, the restored statue of the Hindu god Thao Maha Phrom was replaced at Bangkok's famed Erawan shine. Hundreds of Thai and foreign worshippers looked on in falling rain.
A Worshipper pays his respects at the Erawan Shrine after the statue was replaced.
It was exactly two months yesterday that a mentally ill man smashed one of the city's most revered religious images.
He was later beaten to death by an angry mob.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra attended the ceremony at the Rajprasong intersection.
The Thao Maha Phrom statue - escorted by a procession of lion dancers and musicians - left the Fine Arts Department at 7.29am. It was paraded to the City Pillar Shrine, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Brahman Church of Bangkok, where holy water was poured on the statue.
At 11am, the procession arrived at the Erawan shine. Thaksin, caretaker Culture Minister Surakiart Sathirathai and city Governor Apirak Kosayodhin were waiting.
More than 1,000 people, many of them dressed in white and adorned with garlands, crowded the shrine. Others looked on from pedestrian flyovers and the BTS skywalk.
Many had been waiting since early morning. Inbound lanes of Phloenchit Road were closed to traffic.
Folk dancers were accompanied by the sound of traditional Thai gongs.
As the world-famous statue was carried out, Brahma worship was performed before it was replaced at the renovated shrine at exactly 11.39am, just as heavy rain started to fall.
"I feel so good to have a chance to worship Pra Phrom at such a special ceremony," said Thanatporn Khaomuey, 56, a BMA employee who had waited with three friends since 9am.
"I don't think I'll have another chance in my life to witness these rites at the minute the statue is placed at the shrine," she said.
Suthita Ladtai, 52, said she and friends followed the procession by taxi. She hoped participating in the ceremony would bring her luck.
As the statue was moved from a vehicle to the shrine, worshippers threw flowers. Some even noted down the registration number of the vehicle, in the hope it would provide lucky lottery numbers.
Surakiart said a copy of the statue had been made with nine different metals and was being kept at the National Museum, in case of another accident.
The shrine, built in 1956 to ward off bad luck at an adjacent hotel, is one of the country's most popular places of worship among Thais and tourists, especially those from Hong Kong and Singapore.
A 24-hour police guard will protect the renovated Erawan Shrine.