Now this is not the usual kind of religious shrine that we’re used to. In fact many of us would probably consider it a bit “naughty”: the penis shrine. While it’s causing many people to pull out that BangCOCK joke, it’s no laughing matter actually.
The shrine is dedicated to the spirit of Chao Mae Tubtim – a female spirit believed to live in the giant banyan tree there. Then one day a woman came there. She was desperate because she’s been trying in vain for so long to get pregnant.
Nine months after asking Chao Mae Tubtim for it, she gave birth to a healthy child. So as a way of showing gratitude, she came again and brought a huge, wooden penis carving and left it here. And she told others about it, and now there are hundreds of women who come here and ask for fertility and offer penises of all sizes and forms.
If you look around, you can see the the penis is actually a symbol that can be found in many places. Many men carry what Thai people call palad khik, a special kind of talisman.
This relates to animistic beliefs and also to the Indian mythology of shiva lingam.
If you have an interest in the rather curious and strange things, you might want to visit the “Penis Shrine” too – it’s located near the Swissotel Nai Lert Park.
Read more about Bangkok’s Penis Shrine at Global Post.