Thais believe the guardian spirits of a Thai town reside at its foundation pillar. Bangkok's birth thus dates from the auspicious time on 22 April 1782 when Rama I installed this bud-tipped woo-den pillar, now housed in a Khmer-revival cruciform tower. Some claim it's a Shiva lingam or a link to the southern Chinese practice of installing a phallus at a town crossroads. All city distances are measured from this pillar standing 274cm (108in) above ground, 201cm (79in) below. Shellacked and gilded, it is accompanied by another, taller pillar installed by King Rama IV to improve Bangkok's horoscope. Statues of the spirits of the city and country stand in a pavilion to the east. Those granted wishes by these spirits pay lakhon chatri dancers to perform here.