THAILAND, AND ESPECIALLY BANGKOK, IS WORLD FAMOUS FOR ITS SPECTACULAR TEMPLES OR WATS THAT OCCUPY ACRES BUT SOME SMALL SHRINES NOT PARTICULARLY GRAND IN ARCHITECTURE ALSO DESERVE MENTION.
Among the quirkiest and most amusing must be the so-called Penis Shrine, the size of a living room next to Saen Seap klong or canal. This patch of land is nondescript but its location is worth millions of ringgit as it is located at the end of the garden that is part of Swissotel Nai Lert PArk Hotel. it is about 100 metres from the swanky hotel's pool.
THE NEW SANITISED, VIRGINISED AND SADLY SPRUCED UP PENIS SHRINE!
THIS IS THE GODDESS TUBTIM TO WHOM THE PENISES ARE DEDICATED
THOSE WISHING FOR CHILDREN PRAY TO TUBTIM AND OFFER CARVINGS OF PENISES WHICH ARE SYMBOLS OF FERTILITY SINCE PENISES ARE NEED TO MAKE BABIES
FROM HUNDREDS OR EVEN THOUSANDS OF PENISES SCATTERED ALL OVER THE ADJACENT LAND, THERE ARE NOW ONLY 6 BIG ONES! WHAT A SHAME!
WHERE ARE ALL THE COCKS? SUMORE THIS IS YEAR OF THE COCK!
DATO KEE HUA CHEE PRAYS TO THE GODDESS TUBTIM FOR CONJUGAL BLISS
THIS IS THE ORIGINAL SITE OF TUBTIM SHRINE AS THE GODDESS IS SAID TO RESIDE IN THIS ANCIENT FICUS TREE
THE ORIGINAL SHRINE OVERLOOKED THE CANAL WHERE THE SPIRIT SHRINE WAS FOUND FLOATING BY NAI LERT WHO ERECTED IT BY THE ANCIENT FICUS TREE WHERE TUBTIM WAS SAID TO RESIDE
ABANDONED FIGURINES OF BABIES LINE THE DESERTED PATH AS BABIES COME FROM PENISES WHAT!
Alas, when I returned to pray at Penis shrine, to my deep sorrow I discovered it had been relocated, from next to the klong to the opposite end of Nai Lert park facing Central Embassy and the new6-star Park Hyatt.
So I walked towards Nai Lert Heritage Park, passing by Swissotel which closed end of 2016 and will be turned into Bangkok Hospital under Thailand's biggest hospital operator Bangkok Dusit Medical Services. The hotel was originally Hilton on Nai Lert Park before becoming Swissotel and has closed after 36 years.
There was a real Mr Nai Lert who came from a rich family and became even richer. By the time he died in 1945 he was one of Thailand's richest tycoons who owned vast tracts of land. He sold the prime land to Britain which became British Embassy which UK sold to Central Group which built Central Embassy and soon to open Park Hyatt.
Swissotel sold for RM 1.4 billion and the brand new Bangkok Hospital will rise in 3 to 4 years time.
Nai Lert Heritage Park is beautifully maintained with a historic old building, ponds and much greenery and here I finally found Penis Shrine---a shadow of its old self! Previously, hundreds of penises carved mostly from wood were littered everywhere, including some hanging from ficus tree branches, on the ground, stacked in groups or standing erect so to speak.
The land was devoid of penises and though tidy, had a sad, forlorn feel. A signboard said all are welcome to visit the new Tubtim or Penis Shrine in Nai Lert Heritage Park facing Wireless Road.
HISTORY OF PENIS SHRINE
Around 1920 Nai Lert saw a spirit house floating on the klong next to his land. As it was in good condition, he hauled it up and found 3 small carvings of penises which did not attract much attention as phallic symbols are common, animistic symbols representing luck, prosperity and descendants.
Nai Lert had it repainted and renovated it and installed it next to a huge ficus tree where the deity Chao Mae Tubtim, a powerful tree spirit from pre-Buddhist era was believed to reside.
Due to the presence of the three penises, a houseewife who could not conceive after 10 years of marriage came to pray to Tubtim for a child. Within a month she became pregnant and delivered a healthy baby! The mother attributed her pregnancy to Tubtim and her friends came to ask for same boon. They too were granted and news slowly spread. Others begun bringing carvings of penises as offerings and soon it became a custom!
The sizes of penises ranged from a finger to a canoe, often festooned with ribbons. As dozens of penises ballooned into hundreds and thousands, old ones were removed and donated to temples and devotees. All are realistic regardless of size. Some were painted in skin tones to duplicate the real organs while a few oversized ones were attached to monkeys who playfully had to cling on to them like bolsters!
Through decades, the shrine was purposely kept small as Nai Lert could easily have erected a proper temple but it was said Tubtim appeared to him in a dream to keep it small. Today it is even smaller!
Nai Lert Heritage Park is open to the public and is popular as wedding, anniversary or celebratory venues as it has shop, cafe and restaurant set in verdant surrounds. Well worth a visit after tramping through nearby Central Embassy Mall. By the way, some of the best views of Central Embassy mall and Park Hyatt hotel are from Nai Lert Heritage Park!
Saen Seap klong where Nai Lert fished out a shrine floating past which became Tubtim shrine and later Penis Shrine
The original Penis Shrine is now deflated!
Swissotel at right, now being transformed into Bangkok Hospital
Pottery babies line the abandoned path
The famous pavilion outside Swissotel, formerly Hilton in Nai Lert Park
COSY CORNER IN NAI LERT HERITAGE PARK
OLD HISTORIC BUILDING FOR RENTAL
THE NEW NOT READY YET 6-STAR PARK HYATT HOTEL IS ON LAND ONCE OWNED BY NAI LERT BEFORE HE SOLD IT TO BRITISH GOVERNMENT IN 1922 WHICH BECAME BRITISH EMBASSY UNTIL 6 YEARS AGO WHEN BRITAIN SOLD THE ROAD FACING PORTION TO CENTRAL GROUP WHICH BUILT PARK HYATT AND CENTRAL EMBASSY SHOPPING MALL, NOW BANGKOK'S MOST PRESTIGIOUS AND EXPENSIVE HOTEL AND MALL
EVEN THE TREE FOLLOWS THE FLOW OF PARK HYATT!
LOOKS FAINTLY JAPANESE
FINALLY THE PENIS SHRINE!
THIS IS ALL! FROM HUNDREDS OF PENISES TO JUST SIX!
PENIS SHAPED AS CANNON
RED ROSES DECORATE TUBTIM SHRINE
THE BABY GIVING GODDESS
TUBTIM WHO GRANTS WISHES OF WIVES WANTING BABIES
WEE LOVE TUBTIM
BUT THE SHRINE IS NOW TOO SANITISED, CLEAN AND PERFECT!
GARMENTS FOR TUBTIM
DATO KEE HUA CHEE PRAYS TO TUBTIM
OPENAIR SETTING FOR AFTERNOON TEA
MY TASTE EXACTLY
A WEDDING WAS HELD OUTSIDE LAST NIGHT. A KHUNYING AND THANPUYING ENJOYING A TETE A TETE
SWISSOTEL IS STILL STANDING BUT CLOSED FOR DEMOLITION
LOVELY VISTA OF PARK HYATT FROM NAI LERT PARK
FANTASTIC VIEW OF PARK HYATT FROM NAI LERT PARK
STUNNING! OR WHAT