Tuptim Shrine. Bangkok. October 2008.
Shrine Of Goddess Tuptim.
A shrine in the grounds of Nai Lert Bangkok Hotel, Wireless Road is dedicated to Phra Mae Tuptim.
Locals believe the Nai Lert built the Saan Phra Phum / spirit house for the spirit that was living in the ficus tree.
According to folklore, spirits "residing" in spirit houses are regarded as guardian spirits of the land. Their role is to watch over and protect the area / building and its occupants.
Previously Thais visited the area round the back of the Nai Lert and offered jasmine flowers, incense and lotus buds. Now it seems more focused on offering large and small phallic symbols as they now believe the shrine is dedicated to fertility. Thus a lass wishing to conceive but having issues would pop down the Nai Lert, pay a swift bit of homage to Mae T, cross her fingers and hope for a result.
The name of this Goddess is a bit of a mystery. Some believe that the name could have originated from “tuptim” meaning pomegranate. Many of the phallic symbols are dark red – just like pomegranate juice. However, some of the older manky ones have also got mushrooms growing on them, but I presume the Thai word for “fungus” might not be appropriate for a fertility shrine.