The modern Brahmins of Thailand

Of anthropological interest. Evidence for Brahmanism is found in ancient Southeast Asia, inferred from texts and inscriptions, and in Thailand Brahmins still play a role in the royal court.

The opening of the Erawan shrine by the chief of Brahmins Source: Bangkok Post 20151012
The opening of the Erawan shrine by the chief of Brahmins Source: Bangkok Post 20151012

The new Brahmins
Bangkok Post, 12 October 2015

Brahmins have been serving in the Thai royal court as officials and performing royal ceremonies since the Ayutthaya period. The involvement of Brahmins continued to the Rattanakosin period. During the reign of King Prajadhipok (Rama VII), due to the government’s budgeting reasons, many officials were laid off. Some Brahmins were affected. They returned to their native provinces to take up other professions. Back then, they were not allowed to performed rituals for commoners.

A great change came during the start of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s reign. By royal decree, Brahmins were allowed to conduct ceremonies for the people. Families of Brahmins who relocated during King Rama VII’s reign could now revert to their old profession.

The centre of Brahmin activity in Thailand is at Devasathan, a Hindu temple in Bangkok’s inner city, which was built more than 200 years ago.

In Thailand, Komkrit said there are three types of Brahmins. One is brahm luang or royal Brahmins who mainly perform royal ceremonies like the annual ploughing ceremony. They come from a long family line of Brahmins in Thailand. The recent reopening of the Erawan Shrine was also presided over by the chief of Brahmins from the Devasathan.

Full story here.

Hindu temple in Java to be restored

Candi Sukuh in Central Java, noted for the pyramid structure of the central building, is slated for conservation later this year.

Candi Sukuh. Source: Jakarta Globe 20150130
Candi Sukuh. Source: Jakarta Globe 20150130

Collapsing Pyramid at the Hindu Temple of Sukuh to Be Restored by 2016
Jakarta Globe, 30 January 2015

The Central Java Heritage Conservation Agency plans to restore the Hindu temple, known as Sukuh, this March as the earth beneath the temple’s foundation continues to shift.

Some parts of the exotic temple complex will remain open to tourists during the renovations, but not the main pyramid-shaped structure.

The agency estimates that the renovation will be completed in 2016.

Before work can start, however, the agency and a team of archeologists will remove some stones from the pyramid to study the best method to stop the main temple from further damage.

The pyramid is now bulging on one side and could threaten the integrity of the entire structure.

Full story here.

SOAS Alphawood Scholarships 2015/16

Applications are now open for the Alphawood Scholarships in Southeast Asian Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London for the 2015-16 academic year. This is a great opportunity for young Southeast Asian scholars interested in a postgraduate education for the advancement of Hindu and Buddhist art.

Borobudur Sunrise

The SOAS 2015/2016 Alphawood Scholarships
Deadline: 18 December 2014
Continue reading “SOAS Alphawood Scholarships 2015/16”