PHUKET, THAILAND, May 8, 2013 (The Phuket News): Despite having already served the Thai-Nepalese community for more than a decade, the Thai-Nepalese temple on Patong Hill was officially opened on April 19. The event attracted hundreds from the local Nepalese community, many of whom work in the tailor industry in Patong and other tourist areas, as well as a select group of politicians and local government representatives.
Phanuphong 'Daniel' Limbuprasertkul, president of the Thai-Nepalese Association, took time to speak to The Phuket News. "We have many VIP guests here today, including nine Hindu priests from Nepal and of course the Ambassador of Nepal," Daniel said, as we watched the lighting of incense sticks and offerings of food.
The whole bright and colorful celebration had begun a few days before, with the initial offering of donations that included water, milk, honey, butter and rice to several newly installed statues. "These objects represent life," explained Omjee Khodomkul, just one of the devotees wearing traditional dress, "and on this day we give these things back to those from whom we received life."
Although similar to Buddhist ceremonies in certain aspects, Hindu events are also very different, with such as the ritual walking in circles by devotees around the new statues. "This reminds everyone that we are constantly going around the universe by dying, being reborn, and dying again," said Daniel.
Phuket Vice Governor Sommai Prijasilpa, representing the island's government at this culturally significant ceremony, expressed the importance of the Nepalese community to Phuket. "There are around 1,500 Nepalese in Phuket and they do business very well and are important for Phuket industry - they are especially very good at tailoring."