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Most Popular Thai Gods: A Friendly Guide to Divine Beings

Thai mythology is deeply intertwined with the country’s rich cultural heritage, blending elements of Hinduism, Brahmanism, and indigenous folk beliefs. As a result, there are many popular Thai gods who have diverse historical and religious significance. Among these influential deities, some have gained prominence as they continue to be revered in modern Thai culture.

A notable characteristic of these gods is their assimilation from other religious traditions, such as Hinduism. Deities like Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, and Lakshmi hold significant places in the Thai pantheon. Similarly, many Thai creatures and legends keep their significance alive in the local culture.

Some of the most popular Thai gods include Matchanu, Ananta Thewi, Phra Sao, Kala Acana, Phra Angkarn, and Phra Ram, among others. These gods have played a vital role in shaping Thailand’s folklore and mythology, leaving a profound impact on the nation’s people and its identity.

The Pantheon of Thai Gods

Thai mythology has strong influences from Hinduism and Brahmanism that have been introduced to the region in ancient times. This has led to the incorporation of Hindu deities such as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva into the Thai Pantheon. In this section, we will discuss three popular Thai gods: Phra Phrom (Brahma), Phra Phirun (Vayu), and Phra Isuan (Shiva).

Phra Phrom (Brahma)

Phra Phrom is the Thai representation of the Hindu god Brahma, easily recognized by his four faces and four hands. He is considered the creator of the universe. One of the famous places to worship Phra Phrom is the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, which attracts countless pilgrims and tourists alike.

Phra Phirun (Vayu)

  • Phra Phirun is associated with Vayu, the Hindu god of wind and air.
  • He is often depicted as a warrior riding a white horse and carrying a bow and arrows.
  • Symbolic of his role as the god of wind, Phra Phirun is seen as governing the forces of nature and the direction of the wind.

Phra Isuan (Shiva)

The Thai god Phra Isuan is derived from the Hindu god Shiva. Some of the key aspects associated with Phra Isuan include:

  1. Destruction and transformation: Phra Isuan is known for his power to destroy and transform the universe.
  2. Association with arts and dance: Just like Shiva, Phra Isuan is connected to the arts, especially dance.
  3. Depictions: Phra Isuan is often portrayed with a third eye on his forehead or as the Nataraja, the lord of dance.

Together, Phra Phrom (Brahma), Phra Phirun (Vayu), and Phra Isuan (Shiva) represent significant elements within the Thai Pantheon, demonstrating the unique blending of Hindu and Thai beliefs in the region.

Guardians of the World

Phra Phai (Vayu)

Phra Phai, also known as Vayu, is one of the Four Heavenly Kings and a key guardian in Thai mythology. He serves as the protector of the West and is closely associated with the wind element. As a mighty defender against evil, Phra Phai is often depicted commanding a legion of supernatural creatures to maintain the peace and uphold Dharma.

Rahu Om Jan

Rahu Om Jan, an enigmatic and powerful deity in Thai mythology, is known for his role in causing solar and lunar eclipses. He is often portrayed as a giant with a dark complexion, eager to consume both the sun and the moon. Believed to possess immense power and influence, Rahu Om Jan serves as an important guardian figure, ensuring cosmic balance and harmony.


Kala is a fearsome guardian deity in Thai folklore, often seen guarding the entrances of important temples and palaces. Depicted with a fierce demeanor, sharp fangs, and a serpent-like body, Kala symbolizes protection and the subduing of evil forces. As a mighty guardian, Kala’s presence is crucial in warding off negative energies and ensuring the safety of sacred spaces.

Gods of Fertility and Abundance

Chao Mae Phosop (Rice Goddess)

Chao Mae Phosop is a significant figure in Thai mythology, often regarded as the rice goddess. Although her worship has declined, she remains an important deity in rice-growing regions. Farmers pay their respects to Chao Mae Phosop in hopes of a bountiful harvest and prosperity.

Phra Mae Thorani (Earth Goddess)

Phra Mae Thorani is a beloved earth goddess in Thai folklore, representing fertility, abundance, and purification. She is often depicted wringing water from her long, flowing hair, which is believed to nourish the earth and its creatures. As a symbol of nurture and sustenance, Phra Mae Thorani is venerated for her life-giving qualities and protection of the natural world.

Protective Spirits and Local Deities

The Phi-Kasu Ghost

The Phi-Kasu ghost is a protective spirit in Thai folklore that is known to inhabit forests and rural areas. These spirits are often associated with a specific geographical location, such as a particular grove or mountain. They are believed to offer protection and guidance to people passing through their domains.

Chao Mae Nang Kwak

Chao Mae Nang Kwak is a popular local deity in Thailand, often depicted as a woman wearing traditional Thai attire, sitting with her right hand raised. She is considered a goddess of wealth and prosperity, and her image can be found in many homes, shops, and markets. The act of paying respect to Chao Mae Nang Kwak is believed to bring good fortune and success to the devotee’s business or personal life.

Deities in Thai Buddhism

Phraphutthac Chao (Lord Buddha)

Phraphutthac Chao, also known as Lord Buddha, is the central figure in Thai Buddhism. He is worshipped as the enlightened one who achieved Nirvana and shared his teachings, known as Dharma. His life, teachings, and statues hold a significant place in Thai Buddhism.


Indra, or Phra In in Thai, is a highly revered deity in both Hinduism and Thai Buddhism. He is the god of rain and is associated with warfare and thunderstorms. In Thai Theravada Buddhism, he often appears as a guardian or helper of Lord Buddha, assisting him in various occasions.


Ganesha, also called Phra Phikanet in Thai, is an elephant-headed deity representing wisdom, prosperity, and remover of obstacles. Initially a part of the Hindu pantheon, Ganesha has been embraced by Thai Buddhism and can be found in many Thai temples. His presence is particularly prevalent during significant events and ceremonies.