PETALING JAYA - The Erawan Shrine is one of the top tourist destinations in Bangkok.
Travel agent Chun Orawan, who is based in the Thai capital, says the shrine is so popular that it has become part of the tour around the city.
"The shrine is believed to be 40 to 50 years old and was built by workers building the Erawan Hotel.
"There were many problems occurring during the construction of the hotel, so the shrine, which has a statue of Phra Phrom, was built to appease the spirits.
"After it was built, there were no further problems and it has remained in its place until today," said Chun.
The Erawan Shrine is actually a Hindu shrine: Phra Phrom is the Thai representation of the Hindu god Brahma.
Chuin said the shrine was visited by many Thais and foreigners daily offering flower garlands and fruits in hopes that their prayers would be answered.
She said the location of the shrine was another factor for its popularity as it was in near fancy shopping malls and well-served by the city's public transportation system, including the Skytrain and buses.
Although predominantly Buddhist, Thais often build shrines outside commercial areas as a platform to connect their businesses with sacred values.
The shrine is considered to be so sacred that a man was beaten to death after he was caught vandalising it. The man, who was believed to be mentally ill, was attacked by two bystanders in 2006.