Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Shrine of the Goddess Tuptim

On my hunt for the strange and wonderful things in Thailand, in which there are plenty, I came across a hidden shrine full of gigantic penises - not real ones, that is.

It's hard to think that this mysterious shrine is in the middle of urban Bangkok - and even in the grounds of a swanky luxury hotel. However, it is quite hidden from the hustle and bustle of people and hence a bit challenging to get to even with a map. To get there from my hotel in Chinatown I had to take the subway train and the skytrain to the Pathumwan district. There I had to find the Swissotel building and ask the guard for directions, who gestured me to go through the indoor car park of the hotel, get out  to the other side of the building, and walk a little more.

The shrine is dedicated to a goddess named Chao Mae Tuptim, who might somehow be the Thai version of Mazu, the Chinese sea goddess. I feel a strange, primal, Pagan energy in this place which was nothing like I've felt before in other sacred places. Moments later, a pair of squirrels came out of nowhere and stopped for some seconds in front of me to boink each other - as if I needed to be pointed out further that this is a fertility shrine. It is indeed a place of magic.

Aside from the occasional boats passing by on the nearby klong, the place was very quiet. And even though I was alone when I visited, I get a feeling that this shrine has many devotees as can be seen from the fresh offerings of flowers, garlands and food in it. As a token of goodwill I left a palad khik, a penis-shaped amulet I bought from the amulet market the other day. It might be microscopic compared to the giant dongs around me but I believe that in this case, size doesn't matter.

 Wooded phalluses

 The house of the goddess. Her image can be seen inside but difficult to photograph.

 Cute litle Thai children.

A palad khik.

ขอ ให้ พระเจ้า คุ้มครอง คุณ!
Basbasan Nawa! 


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