Lord Ganesha has his set of devotees across international borders too. In Thailand, Ganesha is called Phra Phikanet or Phra Phikanesuan and is worshipped as the deity of fortune and success, and the remover of obstacles.
Kumartuli idol makers are unable to meet the demand. Hundreds of Ganesha idols made in Kumartuli have been already exported to Thailand for Mondays Celebration i.e. for Ganesh Chaturthi.
The idols made for Thailand are different from the traditional Ganesha idol worshiped in India. Apart from four hands and the mouse as his steed, Ganesha is seen with a snake on his head and is sometimes sitting on a lotus. The snake is sacred to the Thai people. Apart from the snake, these idols are also differentiated by the use of vibrant colours.
There are two types of idols for export. While the clay idols are heavier and usually not higher than 1.5 ft, the lighter fiberglass idols may reach 5 ft.
An idol that costs Rs. 1,200 in Kolkata, sells for approx. Rs. 3,500. So, the profit margin is very high.
These idols are not bought in Thailand for just the purpose of worship. While there are many shrines dedicated to Ganesha in Bangkok, the idols are also kept outside homes and offices as a symbol of good luck.
Yes that’s the name of Ganesha in Thailand! Because of the Hindu influence on Thai culture, Ganesha has been worshipped there for ages.
Phra Phikanet is believed to bring good luck and success and remove obstacles. He is associated with the arts, education and trade
Ganesha also appears in Buddhism as Vinayaka, which is another reason for his popularity in Thailand.
Content courtesy: TOI & Web