Ganesha, one of the five Hindu deities, is known as Phra Phikanet or Phra Phikanesuan in Thailand. When Hindus spread out to South East Asia, they took many aspects of their culture with them, including Ganesha. In Thailand, he is worshiped as the deity of fortune and success and there are Phra Phikanet shrines all over the country. Many Thai Buddhists pay their respect not only to the Buddha, but also to Phra Phikanet, and bring him offerings such as sweets, incense, flowers and fruit, hoping that in return he will help their businesses flourish.
We think we’ll start traveling with extra donuts and flowers to leave with Phra Phikanet, too!