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From Earth God to the Shrine of Bangkok: Phra Phrom of the Erawan Shrine and Images of Hindu-related Gods at the Ratcharasong Intersection in Bangkok, Thailand



Parallel abstracts

Through a discussion of the Erawan Phra Phrom Shrine and the images of Hindu-related gods around the Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok, this research aims to break free from the restrictive classifications of Buddhism, Hinduism, and popular beliefs concerning animism and shamanism. The paper proceeds from a discussion of three different agents: the royal family, commercial development, and popular creativity, examining them at their symbolic and practical levels, to provide a more comprehensive discussion of the diversity of contemporary Hindu-related beliefs and practices. The establishment of the Erawan Phra Prom Shrine is grounded in religious innovations concerning Thailand’s animistic beliefs; however, such innovations are highly correlated with the symbolic historical memory of the development in this area led by the royal family. On the other hand, business groups connected with the royal family and consumerism have also brought new meaning to the numerous images of Hindu-related gods in this area. Nevertheless, popular religious beliefs and practices are even more diverse. Despite the presence of the royal family and consumerism, some actors passively resist them, while others seek to actively transform their related ideas. Some religious specialists even attempt to compete in the creativity of the religious market, further enriching the diverse meanings of Hindu-related divine images, beliefs, and practices in the Ratchaprasong area.


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