Tattoo You: Khiri Travel Launches a Tour with a Difference
— Six curious travellers joined the trip led by Tom and Aroon Vater, author and photographer of Sacred Skin, a book on Thailand’s spiritual tattoos.
Popular with soldiers, policemen and members of Thailand’s underworld, the tattoos are said to have the power to stop bullets and break knife blades. The monks of Wat Bang Phra in Nakhon Chaisi did the tattooing at the festival last week, which attracted about 10,000 devotees, most of them obsessed with spiritual and occult beliefs and the protective powers that tattoos and amulets allegedly bring.
|Obsessed with spirits|
Vater described the scene when the group arrived at Wat Bang Phra in the evening prior to the festival: “The temple courtyard was full of people and fried food. A giant screen showed movies. Visitors lay on mats in front, slowly falling asleep. Rolling Stones songs and Thai luk thung music blasted from a huge speaker system. It was a wonderful country fair ambience. Amazing Thailand indeed.”
Although most Thais are Buddhists, they also mix Hindu, Brahman, animism, and various superstitions into their spiritual belief.
Vater said that the trip might appear quite shocking for casual observers. Some of the possessed devotees transformed themselves into animals. Sounds of monkeys, snakes and crocodiles, screams and maniacal laughing were heard across the temple compound. Devotees ran, crawled and slithered on the grounds of the temple’s courtyard. Many tried to run towards the main stage at full speed where the monks were chanting. Many stumbled and fell into the crowds, hurting themselves and other people.
Khiri Travel brought some background sanity to proceedings. Their two-day trip to the festival 60 kms west of Bangkok used the quiet surroundings of the Parn Dhevi Riverside Resort and Spa as a sanctuary in between visits to the frenetic rituals at the temple.
|‘Sak yant’ happening|
Khiri Travel’s Director of Inbound Sales, Sakai Naismith, who went on the trip, said: “All of our clients who went to the temple were blown away by it. They were all foreign residents of Thailand but too intimidated to go by themselves. The Khiri trip with commentary and insights by Tom and Aroon was therefore the perfect solution.”
Khiri Travel will organize the trip again next year when the trip will include a visit to the amulet market in Wat Mahathat Bangkok before the trip to Nakhon Chaisi.
It decided to offer the experience as part of its commitment to delivering authentic discoveries and immersion into local culture in Thailand and the region.
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