Palad Khik – An Introduction

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LP Fak Palad Khik Wat Nikom

The Palad Khik is widely used by the Thai People for protection, enhancement of business, harmonious relationships, and most importantly, for warding off evil spirits or ghosts

It is often mistaken either for an obscene object or a form of phallus worship. It is in fact associated with Hindu / Brahmic religous belief  and reverence of Lord Shiva as represented by the Lingdam. This talisman has evolved quite considerably over the years and continues to do so even in recent history. Today the Palad Khik would be fairly accurately defined or described as a symbolic image of a faith in those that have created and sacralised them.

Palad Khik LP Yit

In general the the popular belief in Palad Khik is engrained into the very fabric of Thai society and mentality. To best understand the reasons why you would need to investigate the history of religous practice and magic in every day life.

Unfortunately not a lot is written about the Palad Khik, and one can only assume that this in part has been due to the conservative Thai nature and what previously was seen as somewhat of an embarassment to the country.Whereas in contrast many overseas countries have recognised the significance of this unique part of Thai culture and tradition for example The Quasi museum in Paris houses a permanent exhibitioin of Palad Khik.

Thai Attitudes have changed considerably in recent years, and in particular as this subject has been brought to the attention of the public for discussion by some interesting, albeit controversial public displays. One event in particular that made headlines was when a Thai maverick artist who had a studio on Soi Thonglor decided to create all his furniture from phalluses, including handles for doors which soon after became quite popular. The most famous of course was the beauty queen who admitted to secreting a miniature palad khik in her hair, to which she attributed her success

History

Palad Khik derives from Pali language. The origin of the Palad Khik is related to Lord Shiva, the Indian Hindu God who manifes himself in the form of “Linga”, the male genital and sometimes together with “Yoni”, the female genital.

It symbolises the power of creation, strength of unity and the source of destruction. It was brought into Thailand together with the Khmer invasion as early as 8th century AD, but it was in a bigger size and was the main object of worship at the centre of many Khmer temples. The present style that could be worn over the waist with a string was made famous by Luang Phor Ei of Wat Sattaheep, Chonburi.

In fact there is one standing on its own foundation covered in gold leaf and flowers at Wat Pho, Bangkok, the countries oldest Buddhist temple.

palad khiklp kong

The Palad Khik has taken innumerable design variations over the years  such as small brass bullets, lizards with split tails or a monkey sitting astride the shaft. Indeed some designs can even  be considered erotic art, a good example being the female figure splayed across the top of the member or a fish with glans head.

Material of construction is equally as varied, being made from wood, brass, coral, horn and ivory and more often that not inscribed with Khmer  sacred spells or yant.

The Palad Khik was oriiginally  known as a Paras, only later was it renamed Palad Khik  because of the sniggering noises (which sound like khik) that some people made when they first saw these Thai amulets being worn.

Palad Khik are worn almost exclusively by Thai males although they are sometimes carried by Thai females. As with many Thai amulets, Palad Khik are worn for protection, especially against evil spirits who it is hoped will mistake the false phallus for the real thing.

Etiquette says that the Palad Khik should be worn on the right to gain popularity, charm to attract women and to achieve a loving relationship but worn on the left to gain advantages in business, good sales, good luck. Some Thais will wear a Palad Khik to bring them luck in gambling.

Palad Khik LP Tim

Many shopkeepers will have a Palad Khik on display just inside their shops or in their cash registers to bring them good sales and some Thai women will carry one in their handbag to protect them against mugging and rape.

Amazing Thailand !  A catch phrase coined by the Thai Tourist Board,  It reminds me of the giant Palad Khik I have seen at some top hotel restaurants in Bangkok.  Usually positioned on buffet tables, I have no doubt they are a great conversation starter but I suspect also a source of real ”amazement”  and intrique for the international guest and  his first encounter with a giant penis on the dinner table…explain that to the kids !!


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