©Heloise Bergman / Time Out
Thais seamlessly fuse modernity with spirit beliefs. This ability is encapsulated at the frenetic, smoky Hindu shrine to Brahma, erected in 1956 to appease displaced spirits who were blamed for mishaps in building the old Erawan Hotel. Pilgrims with granted wishes return to make offerings; many pay for costumed dancers to perform. In 2006, a crazed (or well-paid) man smashed the statue and received instant karma: bystanders beat him to death. Thousands scrambled to see the restored image reinstalled.
Erawan is the elephant mount of Indra, whose green statue outside neighbouring Amarin Plaza joins a circuit of Hindu shrines at Ratchaprasong. The InterContinental Hotel erected a bronze Vishnu upon his man-bird mount Garuda. Vishnu's wife Lakshmi promotes prosperity atop Gaysorn Plaza, and at Central World devotees worship Ganesha and Trimurthi. Trimurthi combines Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, but the young revere him as the 'god of love', making red offerings, especially on Thursdays.