Recently, a Thai monk was caught in a torrential rain while meditating in a cave. He was trapped for several days before being rescued by a diver. This news is reminiscent of another news in 2018. The 12 football teenagers and their coaches who love to explore in Thailand were trapped in the cave for 18 days before they were finally rescued. At that time, more than 1,000 people were involved in rescue operations from all over the world. attention. Even if they know that there is a certain risk, there are still many Thais who like to go to caves, or practice or explore, and there are deep religious and cultural reasons behind this.
The cave has mysterious powers
Thais’ love for caves is closely related to religion. As a great Buddhist country, most Thais believe that all things have anims, and elves must be respected. In the more old-fashioned people in Thailand, even if the guests come to stay at home, they must hold a small ceremony to report to the guardian elves at home. In the same way, every mountain and every cave has its own elves. According to legend, elves also have their own temperaments, good and evil, and those who love to scare people. If the people respect the elves, mountains and caves, the local people will prosper and prosper. The northern part of Thailand is mountainous, and some places here hold some special ceremonies to communicate with the elves in the mountains every year, so that the local weather will be smooth in the coming year. For example, in Chiang Mai, the locals will hold a ceremony every year: two cave elves will “possess” two people, they will eat raw buffalo and drink its blood, then surrender to the Buddha and agree to do The city provides cool breeze and clean water.
In Thai culture, caves are places full of dangers and possibilities, a world shrouded in darkness and difficult to enter, and this world is often “hostile” to humans. The relationship between man and cave is one of conquering and being conquered. Thai caves are believed to have a mysterious power, and if someone enters the cave, this power will continue to increase. By meditating in caves, monks and hermits can tame the wild side of this power and transform it into something beneficial to society. This is also an important reason why Thai monks like to practice in caves. There was once a monk in Thailand who practiced in a cave in isolation for 3 years, and only rely on fruits and water sent in by his disciples with a rope to maintain his life every day. When he came out of the cave, a large number of people lined up to pay homage to him and worship him as a god.
There are shrines in caves all over Thailand, many of them are Buddhist shrines, and there are often stories like this: how a certain monk wandered in this area and how to tame terrible giants or elves. Sacrifices will be placed in front of the shrines. These shrines and offerings are intended to make offerings to those mountain gods, elves, or those who have conquered the special power of the cave.
There are many kinds of cave tourism
In 2018, the cave where football teenagers were trapped has a beautiful name called “Sleeping Beauty Cave.” Legend has it that the elf in this cave is a princess in ancient times. She fell in love with a groom, but was opposed by the king. The two eloped helplessly to a big mountain. While going out looking for food, the groom was killed by a chaser sent by the king, and the desperate princess also committed suicide. After death, her blood and tears turned into a river, her body turned into a mountain, and her spirit wandered in the cave and became a mountain spirit.
The Sleeping Beauty Cave is very charming, and the wide entrance is like a gate. In the rainy season, the drenching moisture gave this place the feeling of a fairy cave. In fact, there is a small temple near this cave where the princess’s idol is enshrined. When the football teenagers were trapped and the professionals were busy searching and rescuing, the teenagers and their coach’s family members worshipped the gods in the temple and prayed, begging the “princess” to let their children come back.
The story is just a story after all, but this successful rescue operation that has attracted worldwide attention has actually brought the “Sleeping Beauty Cave” international fame. The local government took advantage of the hot iron and turned this small well-known cave into a scenic spot. The tourists who come here are really in an endless stream, bringing a lot of tourism income to the local area.
In fact, not only this cave, but many caves in Thailand are popular tourist attractions, and cave exploration is also a magic weapon for attracting foreign tourists in Thailand. To enter these caves, you must be led by a special guide, and you must bring a variety of professional caving equipment. It is not a joke to enter casually. For example, the “Sleeping Beauty Cave” is more than 10 kilometers long and there are many fork roads in it. In terms of length alone, this cave can only be ranked fourth in Thailand.
There are also many forms of cave tourism in Thailand, including trekking cave tours in the northern mountains, and boat diving cave tours in the southern islands. Most cave tours are fun in exploring, and some are not. For example, the famous “Elves Mountain” is a destination for international rock climbers. There are also caves that people visit for the purpose of worshipping Buddha. For example, there is a Buddhist temple in the middle of the famous Phaya Nakhon Cave (pictured). When a ray of sunlight shone through the sinkhole-like cave and enveloped the Buddhist temple, visitors will involuntarily burst into mystery and solemnity. a feeling of. In some places, there are specially built cave spas where visitors can enjoy Thai herbal massage in the cave.
It has become a location for popular movies and games. Thailand’s cave has also become a location for many movies. The most famous of course is “Sleeping Beauty Cave”. After the rescue was successful that year, Thailand and Ireland co-produced a film called “Miracle Rescue” to tell the story. There are also caves appearing in many movie scenes. For example, in “Boxing Fighter”, which shows Muay Thai, the most exciting section of the fight that fully reflects the essence of Muay Thai takes place in the cave. The most critically acclaimed is “Uncle Bumi Who Can Recall His Past Life” by the well-known new Thai director Velazhagu. The film won the 2010 Palme d’Or for its unique Thai localized humanistic care. The film owner announced that Mi was terminally ill. He gradually let go of his fear of death through communication with his family, and decided to go to the cave where he was born and wait for the end of his life. The cave in the film has a profound religious image, which is both the starting point and the end of life. In the Thai traditional interpretation, the cave means the uterus, a channel connecting another form of life. In addition, the island map “Sano” in the game “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” that has taken the world by storm in recent years-that is the “eating chicken” game of “good luck, eating chicken at night”-is that the game’s art team went to Thailand. It was drawn after a field trip to Phaya Nakorn Caves. In the game, players have to parachute into this cave from the air, which is thrilling and exciting.