City Pillar Shrine
The City Pillar Shrine
King Rama I the Great had the Bangkok city pillar erected upon the establishment of Bangkok as a capital in 1782. Symbolically, the pillar provides stability and prosperity for the city. The erection was carried out in accordance with the royal traditions. The pillar was made of cassia wood known as Chaiyaphruek flanked by sandal wood, measuring at the base 11.42 inches in diameter and 187 inches in height. The 79 inch portion of the pillar was buried deep in the ground while the remaining 108 inch portion was above ground. A jewel in the shape of a budding lotus was put on the top of the pillar and covered with lacquer and gold leaf. The city’s horoscope was also placed inside the pillar. Later, King Rama IV made some amendments to the city’s horoscope. He ordered that the horoscope be written on a 15 gram gold sheet and that a new shrine with a Prang-shaped spire, modeled on a shrine from the Ayutthaya Era, be built. The new horoscope was then put inside the pillar.
According to local beliefs, seeking blessings from the City Pillar Shrine brings about stability in life, free of bad luck, longer life, happiness, good fortune, success in career and achievement of a milestone. Inside the shrine, there is a small Buddha image that can predict whether one’s wish
will come true. To do so, a wisher needs to lift up the Buddha image twice. At first they should pray and attempt to lift up the image. This should be repeated and if both of their attempts succeed, the wish will come true.
To make an offering, the offerings include 3 incense sticks, 1 candle, gold leaf, 2 lotus flowers, 2 flower garlands and 1 piece of three-colored satin fabric. To offer worship, devotees shall start by paying respect with the incense sticks, candle and lotus flowers to the principal Buddha image at the Buddha Image Hall and putting gold leaf on the image. Then, tie the three-colored fabric to an imitation of the City Pillar and offer one garland to the original Pillar and the other one to the five sacred deities at the shrine. In addition, a devotee usually fills oil in front of a Buddha image believed to be his/her guardian according to the day he/she was born.
According to Buddhism, besides worldly possessions; such as, money and shelter, stability in life can be achieved by the Seven Noble Treasures: faith, morality, great learning, charity, wisdom, moral shame, and moral fear. These spiritual treasures are better than physical possessions as the latter can run out but the former keeps one’s mind rich at all times and can be used as capital for physical assets.
How to get there
The City Pillar Shrine is located on the northeast corner of Sanam Luang across from the Grand Palace on Lak Mueang Road, Phra Borommaha Ratchawang Sub-district, Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok. It is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Bus routes: 59, 503, 60, 512(2), 1, 12, 47, 82, 80, 91, 32, 65, 70, 203, 516, 3, and 33.