(Mother Earth Goddess squeezing her hair)

Location :
Located on Ratchadamnoen Nai Road, northeast of Sanam Luang in Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang subdistrict, Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok.
Age :
Built in 1917 during the reign of King Rama VI.
Type of Monument :
Unregistered monument.


The Uthokkathan (Mother Earth Goddess squeezing her hair) was an initiative of Queen Mother Sri Bajrindra to provide drinking water to passers-by at the time that tap water first came to Bangkok. King Rama VI who was the Crown Prince at the time, suggested to the Queen Mother to build the statue of the Mother Earth Goddess squeezing her hair with drinking water flowing out of the tip of the statue’s hair.
The statue was designed by Prince Narisara Nuwattiwong while the arched roof structure was designed by Phraya Jundarangsan (Plub). The construction received financial support from Queen Mother Sri Bajrindra and cost Bt16,437.
The opening ceremony was held on 27 December 1917 - the Queen Mother’s birthday. She appointed Chaophraya Yommarat (Pan Sukhum), Minister of the Metropolitan Department, to preside over the opening ceremony on her behalf. In the letter that Queen Mother Sri Bajrindra sent to Chaophraya Yommarat, it stated:
“Tomorrow, I will hold a merit-making ceremony to celebrate my birthday. I ask you to preside over the opening ceremony of the Uthokkathan for which I have financially sponsored the construction. The statue is located near the Phan Phiphop Lila Bridge. I want to donate a source of drinking water to the public for our fellow citizens to quench their thirst and seek relief from the heat. The facility will be available for all.”
The word “Uthokkathan” means giving water as alms. Giving water as alms was a tradition in Thai society. People placed a water jar and a dipper in front of their house. It was understood that any passer-by could drink the water as the house owner had provided it as an offering. The statue of Mother Earth Goddess squeezing her hair is an extension of that tradition, and an example of the compassion the royal family had for their people.
Today, the Uthokkathan or the statue of Mother Earth Goddess squeezing her hair has become a sacred place where people pay respects. Some people gild it with gold leaf while others pay respects with flowers as they believe that the water from the statue is holy water. Thus the statute is viewed more as a place of worship or a temple to the goddess, rather than merely a monument.

Value and Significance

The Queen Mother Sri Bajrindra, a consort of King Rama V, had the monument built to be a source of drinking water for the Thai people.

Architectural and Artistic Features

The statue of Mother Earth Goddess was built using metal casting and gilded with gold. The tip of the hair is pointing to the front and equipped with a water pipe. The open arched roof is located on an elevated base and has two levels. In front of the statue, is an altar with a jar to collect the water.

Preservation and Restoration

  • During World War II (1941 – 1945), the Uthokkathan was severely damaged. Due to the economic crisis at the time, people broke the statue to steal the pipes inside.
  • The administration of Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat (1959 – 1963) ordered the Bangkok City Municipality to restore the monument. The old gilding was scraped off and replaced. New pipe was installed so the water wouldl be in service again. A mercury-vapour bulb was installed inside the roof. The surrounding area was renovated and an altar with a jar was built in front of the statue. Plants, fencing and a footpath were erected around the monument.

ซุ้มเรือนแก้วมีลักษณะเป็นซุ้มหน้านางสองชั้นฐานสูง เปิดโปร่งทั้ง 4 ด้าน ด้านหน้าซุ้ม มีแท่นตั้งหม้อรองรับน้ำจากปลายมวยผม

รูปนางพระธรณีหล่อด้วยโลหะลงรักปิดทอง ปลายมวยผมที่บีบนั้นวกมาทางด้านหน้า


Other Information

Vasundhara is the Mother Earth Goddess and when performing any activity involving the earth, such as construction, pile driving or ground breaking ceremonies, a ceremony must first be held to inform and apologise to the Mother Earth Goddess.
Mother Earth Goddess is mentioned in the story of Buddha’s enlightenment: Bodhisattva was meditating on his throne under the Bodhi tree. When the demonic celestial King Mara led his troop to confront the Bodhisattva, Mara claimed that the throne had been created with his merit and his troop were witness to support his claim. When Mara tried to drive the Bodhisattva from the throne, the Bodhisattva summoned Mother Earth Goddess to be his witness that he was the rightful owner. She twisted her long hair, and torrents of water that had collected there from the donative libations of the Buddha over the ages created a flood. The flood washed away Mara and his troop. The Bodhisattva was freed to reach enlightenment and became the Buddha.
The murals depicting scenes of “Mara’s Temptation” are often found in Thai temples. The paintings show the Bodhisattva sitting under the Bodhi tree. Below him is Mother Earth Goddess squeezing her hair. Mara’s troop surround the Bodhisattva and the deity, and are later washed away. Prominent art history expert Prayoon Uluchata aka Ajarn Nor Na Paknam, believes that the most beautiful mural of Mother Earth Goddess is located in the old prayer hall of Chom Phuwek Temple in Sanambin Nam, Muang district of Nonthaburi.

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