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Giant Swing, Rattanakosin, Bangkok

Giant Swing

Rattanakosin, Bangkok

Also see: FAM tour of Thailand

The bright red towering swing stands at a busy intersection in Rattanakosin area in the heart of Bangkok. Know as Giant Swing (or Sao Chingcha in Thai) it is a Hindu religious structure associated with the festival of Triyampawai.

Giant Swing, Bangkok

Giant Swing, Bangkok

The Giant Swing dates back to the time of the formation of the Chakri dynasty, which still rules Thailand. The huge teak wood structure was commissioned by the founder of Chakri dynasty Rama I (reign 1782 – 1809) in 1784.

Giant Swing, visible through the strets of Bangkok

Giant Swing, through the strets of Bangkok

Today the Giant Swing, with a bright shade of red, stands on a large traffic island in the Rattanakosin region of Bangkok (Google map location).

The Giant Swing stands in front of the Buddhist Temple of Wat Suthat, but it associated with the nearby Hindu Temple of Devasathan, located inside a nearby lane.

The Giant Swing was once the venue of the Triyampawai festival, celebrated by the Tamil Hindus of Bangkok.

It is celebrated to praise the Hindu god Lord Siva, who was believed to visit Thailand at the end of every Thai year. The Great Swing ceremony was celebrated to make him happy.

Giant Swing, Bangkok

Giant Swing, Bangkok

The Triyampawai celebration, held in late December or early January, included a ritual where Hindu priests, representing Lord Bramha, would swinging back and forth in arcs as high as 15 m as they attempted to grab a pouch of gold coins attached to a pole.

No wonder it was a risky business and accidents were not uncommon. Finally, after several fatal accidents, the swinging rituals were finally banned in 1935. But the swing still stands and is presently an important landmark of Bangkok.

The pillars of the Giant Swing represents the mountains, while the circular base represents earth and the seas. The teak wood structure of Giant Swing has been replaced and remodeled a handful of times. The original structure towered too a height of 42 m and was shifted to the present location in 1920.

Giant Swing, Bangkok

After the shifting in 1920 the next major renovation happened back in 1954 followed by the latest one dating as recently as 2005. Presently the Giant Swing consists of six teak wood tree trunks and towers to a height of 21 m.

Wat Suthat (left) and Giant Swing (right), Bangkok

Wat Suthat (left) and Giant Swing (right), Bangkok

In spite of its great historical importance and stupendous appearance, the Giant Swing hardly features in the popular city tours of Bangkok. But interestingly Giant Swing can easily be included in a heritage walking tour of Rattanakosin.

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The heritage walk of Rattanakosin will also include the following sites:
  1. Grand Palace, Bangkok
  2. Wat Pho, the temple of the Reclining Buddha
  3. Wat Arun, the temple of dawn
  4. Pig Memorial and Pi Kun Bridge
  5. Wat Saket and Golden Mount

Note: I visited Thailand as part of a FAM trip organized by Tourism authority of Thailand (TAT) and Thai Airways.

Special Thanks:

  • Aso Lori (TAT, New Delhi) and Sajid Khan (Thai Airways, Kolkata)
  • My fellow FAM participants Amit Sachdev (Unique Air Travels), Sanjay Kr Kothari (Just Holidays), Vandana Arya (Gainwell Leisure Holidays), Piyush Banerjee (Discovery Holidays), Asif Alim (Neptune Holidays) and Nandini Gangully (T2, The Telegraph)

#BlogYourThailand #AmazingThailand #TATNewDelhi #TATIndia #ResetInThailand

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