The other night the girlfriend and I wandered over to Silom road, on the other side of Bangkok, to have a look at the Navaratri Festival (also transliterated as Navarti/Navararti, so take your pick of spellings….) Although Thailand is something like 95% Buddhist and most of the rest Muslim, there is a substantial Indian population in Bangkok and this is one of the major Hindu festivals of the year. You did not need to be Hindu to enjoy the festival atmosphere though, as the huge crowd showed !
As soon as we stepped out of the Skytrain onto the platform we could smell the incense drifting up from the street below before venturing into the crowd down on the street.
We went a couple of years ago, but that time we arrived later after the parade had been through and there was room to walk. This year we got there too early and only made it a few hundred meters before coming to a halt ..moral of the story is either come later or if you come early walk clockwise and stay in front of the parade !
There are a multitude of gods and goddesses in Hinduism, each with many forms, so I have no idea which each of the many shrines was worshipping, the only one that I recognised was Ganesh ….he is easy to pick out and often features at shrines here in Thailand, even if they are Buddhist many Thais will have a backup bet on Ganesh !
Indeed, around the Ratchaprasong shopping district (CentralWorld, Amarin, Gaysorn,etc) there are many shrines to Hindu deities such as the the one at the Erawan shrine where the Thai version of Brahma is worshipped night and day.
If anybody is interested I have a video on Youtube of the 2016 event, which can be found here : my youtube channel.