Divine traffic jam: Giant Thai deity, Kru Kai Kaew, hits roadblock in Bangkok

Picture courtesy of FM91 Trafficpro Facebook.

A giant sculpture of the renowned Thai deity Kru Kai Kaew or the Great Master Teacher, caused considerable traffic when it failed clear a bridge it was passing under in Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok. A humanoid with bird-like features, wings on its back and golden talons, the unusual sight sparked curiosity about the identity of the deity among bystanders.

Too tall to make it through the underpass, the stuck statue gained the attention of onlookers, and now the statue’s backstory has been revealed. The statue’s history is traced back to a monk in Lamphang province. The monk had gifted the statue of Kru Kai Kaew, often known as Great Master Teacher, to his student, Thawil Milinthajinda, an old-school Thai singer and former military musician. Thawil, in turn, passed it on to his student, Suchat Rattanasuk.

Suchat Rattanasuk is recognised for establishing the first statues of Kru Kai Kaew in Thailand. Traditionally, figurines of the deity were small, measuring approximately two inches. The statue initially depicted a person sitting in a squatting position. However, Suchat, using a bit of creative license, drew an image of Kru Kai Kaew and cast the first statue standing tall, resembling an older person, reported KhaoSod.

The teacher’s form is that of a half-human, half-bird, with wings on its back and golden talons, symbolising a supreme bard. This is based on evidence found on Bayon temple walls from the reign of Jayavarman VII – the first Buddhist king of Cambodia from 1181 to 1220 AD.

To worship the deity, followers offer five incense sticks, bow to the teacher, and then make a donation in Kru Kai Kaew’s glass cabinet. After knocking, worshippers ask for blessings and express their desires. The specific chant that follows is: “Namo Tassa Bhagavāto Arahato Sammā Sambuddhassa ” (recited three times), then “Maha Kru Kai Kaew Metta Maha Raja Sappaseneha Mama Chittang Piyang Mama.”

Outside of Thailand, the faith around Kru Kai Kaew has also spread as far as Hong Kong. The statue there has gained a remarkable reputation for its divine power in granting prosperity, wealth, and success. Hong Kong locals often regard the deity as the god of wealth.

Bangkok NewsTransport News

Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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