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Wat Phra Siwa Chao (วัดพระศิวะเจ้า)

Thai. ‘Lord Shiva Temple’. Name of a Thai Hindu sanctuary located on a 3 rai area plot of land in Bangkok's Saphaan Kwai District, operated by Samahkhom Tantra, i.e. the ‘Tantra Association’, an organization under the Hindu Thamma Sapha (ธรรมสภา) Association, i.e. the Hindu Dhamma Council at the Vishnu Temple in Bangkok's Sathorn District, near Wat Prok (fig.). It also referred to as Tantra Thewalai, i.e. ‘Tantra Idol Shrine’ or ‘Home of Tantra Deities’. Whereas an initial Tantra Group started in 1987, the current temple −though still a private place with members− first opened its doors to outsiders and visitors in July 2005, and wasn't registered under its current name until 2011. As the name Tantra Thewalai suggests, the temple houses a collection of bronze statues of Tantric deities, i.e. idols from Tantrism, a late form of Brahmanism, that consists of a Hindu doctrine in which the worship of demons −in particular Devi− plays an important role, as well as a mystical form of Vajrayana Buddhism. Most of these statues are located in both a garden and a gallery that surrounds the temple's inner courtyard, which at its centre has a statue of Shiva as ‘lord of dance’, a representation of cosmic truth and energy known as Nataraja (fig.). Devotees come here to study and research methods and rituals in order to achieve whatever they desire, especially a way out of suffering, by various means of worshiping these idols. Deities on display include the seven thep prajam wan, in which each day of the week corresponds with a certain deity, such as Phra Ahtit, the sun god and god of Sunday (fig.), and Phra Jan, the moon god and god of Monday (fig.), etc. Furthermore, there are statues of Matangi, i.e. the Tantric form of Sarasvati, who in her appearance as Raja-Matangi is depicted playing the veena, a sitar-like while in the company of a parrot (fig.); Varahi, the shakti of Varaha, i.e. the third avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu in the form of a boar (fig.), and hence a form Prithivi, depicted with the head of a sow (fig.); Kali (fig.), the horrifying form of Devi, the consort of Shiva and a goddess of death, violence, and doomsday; Mahakali (fig.), the terrible form of Parvati, with multiple arms; Yama, the Vedic god of death and judge of the dead, and a son of Surya (fig.); Kuvera (fig.), the god of wealth and a grandson of Brahma; the demon Rahu standing on Garuda (fig.), prior to losing his legs; Tridevi (fig.), the feminine form of the Trimurti; and Skanda, the god of war and one of the sons of Shiva; to name but a few. Also transliterated Wat Phra Shiva Jao and Wat Phrashivajao. See also Siwa, TRAVEL PICTURES and MAP.