While The World Obsesses Over Thailand, Why Is The Party Hub Of The World Obsessed With Penises?


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Photo of While The World Obsesses Over Thailand, Why Is The Party Hub Of The World Obsessed With Penises? by Samarth Arora

Let’s get the basics out of the way first. We all love Thailand for all it has to offer. This article does not mean to harm anyone’s religious sentiments. Yet if something in this story offends you in any way, well... deal with it. All is said in good taste!

Now, back to Thailand! This gutsy little gem of a place is undoubtedly one of the most colourful and exciting places on the planet. Every street, every nook and corner, the very aura of this country spits fun at every step! One can just not have a dull moment while in Thailand. Strange rituals and peculiar items for sale never fail to surprise even the most experimental of personalities, who would otherwise boast to have seen it all.

While most of these hidden packages come with clear reasons for their existence, some do not. Such is the case of penis shrines.

A nation that is known to throw any taboos right out the window and celebrate life in every possible manner, has religious places where pilgrims worship male genitals. Uncertain of the intentions, I decided to shake things up and go… deeper (pun intended).

The Significance of These Shrines

Thailand has two shrines dedicated to penises, namely, the Phra Nang Cave in Krabi Province and the Chao Mae Tuptim Shrine in Bangkok. People of Thailand do not visit to these shrines to flood instagram feeds with photos and selfies, but in hopes of an eternal gift. Worshipping at these shrines is believed to gift people with fertility.

(c) Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Thailand by Samarth Arora

There are different theories about how Phra Nang Cave came to be associated with this particular shrine in Krabi. Some say that an Indian princess was killed in a shipwreck offshore and her ghost occupied the cave. Another belief is that Phra Nang was the wife of a local fisherman, who lived out her life in the cave waiting for her husband but he never returned from one of his ventures on sea.

It is believed that the spirit of Phranang, the Princess Goddess, resides in the wooden penises on the coastline. Locals pray here in hopes of a fertile womb and to successfully conceive. Those, whose wishes are granted, come back with wooden penises as offerings.

How To Reach Phra Nang:

Longtail boat taxis are available from from Ao Nang Beach or Nopparat Thara beach, directly to Phra Nang Beach. The fare should cost around 100 Baht per person one way (200 Baht return). Journey takes around 10 minutes

The shrine takes its name from Chao Mae Tuptim, a pre-Buddhist Southeast Asian tree spirit, who is believed to bestow blessings on those who worship her at the shrine. Locals believe that the Chao Mae shrine houses the female spirit of fertility.

Women who are unable to conceive, visit this place in hopes that praying to the spiritual penises will allow them to bear children. Some locals also worship here for good luck and cleansing of their bad karma. It is common practice for visitors to burn incense sticks upon their visit.

How to Reach Chao Mae:

Take the train and alight at Chitlom Station. Walk down Wireless Road till you reach Swissotel. Take the short street to the basement car park and walk across the parking area. You'll find the Shrine tucked in a corner of the park.

A Word of Caution Before You Visit:

Since pilgrims come here in hopes of starting a family, it is better that casual travellers skip this place who seek only photos of these shines. Avoid making offerings or taking unwanted risks if you’re not yet ready to start a family of your own and leave the believers in peace with their prayers.

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