In the middle of Bangkok, in the Phra Nakhon district, stands an imposing structure that comes very close to the roots of Thai culture, known as the Giant Swing. Built around 1784, the giant swing served as a site for Brahmanic Hindu rituals and was essentially a religious site. The big swing has stood the test of time and is not only religiously symbolic but the passing of time, a symbol of determination for the people of Thailand. The swing is currently in front of the Devasatan; a temple of great importance in the Hindu-Brahmin community; and nearby, there are other places worth visiting for your next trip to Thailand.
The giant swing was erected in 1784 in front of King Rama I’s Devasathan shrine. During the reign of Rama II, the swing ceremony was interrupted because the swing had been structurally damaged by lightning. In 1920 it was renovated and moved to its present location to make room for a gasworks. The ceremony was repeated until 1935 when it was suspended after several fatal accidents.
More about Giant swing:
The giant swing is located in the Phra Nakhon district of Bangkok, Thailand. It is a historic landmark and part of Thai heritage. The swing is used in religious ceremonies of the Brahmin tradition; hence, it has great religious importance for the people of Thailand. For people who want to visit Thailand, it would be good to see the giant swing in Bangkok. The swing is now in front of Wat Suthat temple, but it wasn’t always there.
The swing has a history of moving as dynamic as the history of Thailand itself. It’s a lesson in how utility shapes the process by which cultures evolve—almost 30 meters high and 3.5 meters in circumference.
The swing was made under the reign of King Rama I in 1784 with a view of the Devastation. Due to damage to the swing during the time of King Rama II, the swing ceremony was cancelled due to lightning. The last renovation was in 2005, using new wood to rebuild the swing. What is left of the structure of the old swing, wood, etc., has been preserved in the National Museum in Bangkok? There are also other famous attractions to visit around the giant swing structure, such as Wat Suthat, which is an important site, especially for Buddhist pilgrims during religious festivals. Nearby you will also find The Devastation. Devastation is one of the most important places of worship for Thai Hindus and Buddhists and is definitely worth a visit.
An annual swing ceremony called Triyampavai-Tripavai was held on the giant swings in major cities until 1935 when it was abolished for security reasons. The name of the ceremony derives from the names of two Hindu chants in the Tamil language: Thiruvempavai (a Shaivite hymn of Manikkavasakar) and Thiruppavai (a Vaishnavite melody of Andal). Among Thais, the ceremony was popularly known as Lo Jin Ja or Lo-Chin-Cha (“pulling the swing”). Thiruvempavai, the poet’s parts salai (“open the gates of Shiva’s house”), was recited at this and the Thai king’s coronation ceremony. According to T
Meenakshisundaram, the festival’s name, indicates that Thiruppavai may also have been recited. According to an ancient Hindu epic, after Brahma created the world, he sent Shiva to take care of it. When Shiva descended to earth, the naga serpents wrapped themselves around the mountains to hold the soil in place. After Shiva found solid land, the Nagas went to the sea to celebrate.
The swing ceremony was a replica of that. The pillars of the giant swing represented the mountains, while the circular base of the swing represented the land and seas. At the ceremony, Brahmins would swing and try to grab a bag of coins placed on one of the pillars.