A new Erawan Shrine (Samrong Tai) is being constructed just beyond Sukumvit Soi 117 outside of Bangkok, Thailand (about halfway to Samut Prakan). It is located near where road 3109 branches off north from Sukumvit Road. It was initiated by the late Lek Viriyaphan, the owner of Thonburi Automobile (the agent for Daimler-Benz in Thailand) and Viriya Insurance. He also is responsible for Muang Boran, the Samut Prakarn Crocodile Farm, and the Sanctuary of Truth. Note that Highway 3109 near the Elephant shrine is the road that substitutes for the old Paknam Railway line.
Update - November 13, 2001 - Since this page was posted in 1999, the pedestal the figure stands on has been finished and the wall in front of the site has been painted. Other than that, everything seems pretty much the same. The grounds are still closed, but a makeshift shrine has been erected directly in front of the figure on the street. If you pull up in front of the shrine, people dash out into the street in front of the car or taxi to stop it and try to get you to buy incense or other offerings. This type of frantic salesperson is very unusual for Thailand and remind us of the annoying vendors at Angkor Wat or the Great Wall of China.
The decoration of the shrine is expected to be completed in 5-6 years.
It would be nice if the power lines could be rerouted to enable an unobstructed view.
The photos taken from the street make the shrine appear smaller than it actually is. This photo, taken from road 3109 a few hundred meters away, shows that the topmost electrical line only reaches to the elephant's knee.
Getting lottery numbers at the Erawan Shrine - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from a local Thai newspaper, February 23, 2003
At Poochao Samingprai Intersection and Charakhe curve, you will a big sign for Mecedes-Benz (Thonburi Automobile Assembly Co. Ltd.) and a gigantic Erawan (3-headed elephant) Shrine. If you pass through the shrine, you will see smoke from jolt sticks and candles as well as people from all directions coming to pay homage to the elephants since the shrine also gives "lucky numbers" to win the government Lotto. This first started with construction workers and then for other people. The lucky numbers seem to come out of the air when you take a look at the elephant head for a long time--which usually results in striking the Lotto. Therefore, there it is no surprise to see lots of people gathering at the Shrine on the 1st and the 16th day of each month to get lucky numbers.
The construction was started by the late Phakphian Viriyaphan (AKA Siah Lek Viriyaphan - owner of Muang Boran). Initially, Siah Lek wanted to set up the shrine to be a museum to display historical artifacts from his collection to the public. The construction started on October 19, 1994.
The elephant is as high as 17-floor building (50-meter--the same height as Victory Monument). The elephant heads are 10 times as large as real elephants. There is a cylindrical building under the elephant's feet. There are two helix stairs at the center of the building.
The elephant is made from pure copper sheets that cover a steel structure. Copper sheets were welded together. The model for the shrine was to use real elephants so as to render Erawan as realistic as possible. The area around the shrine was created to be a new public park with trees, waterfall, and canals.
Every night, security will always find those who park their luxury cars and come to pay tribute to the shrine by taking off their clothes to dance. Sometimes, those who ride in luxury cars will hire traditional drama players to dance and create dramas for seven days and seven nights.
People pay homage with flowers, jolt sticks, candles, garlands, bananas, sugar cane, and other kinds of fruit. Sometimes, the donated fruit is enough to feed deers, monkeys, and elephants in Muang Boran. And it can also be donated to the orphans.