Maha Uma Devi Temple – Bangkok

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Maha Uma Devi Temple

It took a good hour to get to the Uma temple from the Amulet Market. First a boat ride down the river, which provided a welcome breeze in the increasing heat and humidly of the day.  Then a ride on the air-conditioned sky train, Bangkok’s metro system, followed by a short steamy walk through streets with virtually no pedestrians.   Nestled in a neighborhood of white sky scrappers sits the small colorful temple. Built in the 1860’s by the local Tamil community the temple is covered with brightly colored deities. I thought it was appropriate to go to the Uma temple, since it is Shiva and his wife Uma that live on Mount Kailash.  I was also curious what a Hindu Temple in Buddhist Bangkok would look like.

I was surprised when I entered the temple. In contrast to the empty street the temple was loud and jammed packed with devotees, all Thai, some in saris. I took off my sandals and was immediately pushed into a line to buy flowers and a coconut for the goddess. A man with a load speaker stood next to me blasting instruction in Thai to keep the line moving.  I was shoved into the next line that led to the front of the temple where 3 chanting Indian Pandits formed an assemble line; The first one taking the flowers and dumping them on the ground in front of the Uma murti, the second unceremoniously handing out prasad, (flowers and fruit) to the devotees, while the third Pandit dotted the endless line of foreheads with a red tikka. The three of them worked at an incredible speed and even though the temple was packed I was finished with the whole process in less than 10 minutes.

I stayed for a while longer watching the endless flow of devotees and meandering around the edges of the temple.  The temple could easily been in India, except for the devotees being Thai and by the line of Bangkok gold Buhddas on one side.

I offered a prayer requesting safety on the trip, and then meandered through Chinatown, back to the river to catch a boat and to find a Mor doo.

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