Where: Wat Rajannada, Bangkok, Thailand
What’s in store: Phra Pim, bronze Buddhas and Buddha symbol amulets
Bag a bargain: Only Buddhist devotees should buy statues and you must apply for a government license to take one out of the country
Thailand is a Buddhist country and the people are very superstitious. A lot of people prefer to wear a Buddhist amulet instead, which they believe ward off evil and keep them from harm’s way.
There are many different kinds of amulet, all of which are thought to bring different blessings to the wearer – be it good luck, fertility, the gift of the gab, true love or protection from harm. Some of the most powerful amulets can be found on the dashboards of taxis and tuk tuks – if you’ve seen the state of Bangkok traffic you’ll understand why they need a little extra insurance!
Where to Bag a Bargain
The largest amulet market in Bangkok is located just outside Wat Rajannada – the distinctive ‘Iron Castle’. The Buddha images and little ceramic Phra Pim sold here aren’t meant for tourists. This is serious religious business. Buddhist doctrine actually forbids the buying and selling of Buddha images. Instead, the stallholders ‘rent’ them to the wearer for a lifetime.
You can also buy cast bronze Buddhas here, most of which are destined for the homes of devotees. The Government Fine Arts Department keeps a close eye on all Buddha images that are exported from the country, and tourists wishing to take one home have to apply for a licence. You should also bear in mind that the image of Buddha is sacred. You should place it on a high shelf and never on the floor, and avoid touching the head. Each day, you should place offerings of food and incense before your Buddha. If treated appropriately, a Buddha statue is believe to bring good luck.
The biggest and most well-known site for Thai amulets, charms and talismans info.
By Vanessa Colosi