Phra Rahu is worshiped at many temples throughout Thailand, the most famous of which is Wat Srisathhong in Nakhon Pathom Province. Phra Rahu was formerly a Demon God who the Thais believe took the form of a serpent, these days at temples he takes a more demonic human form. Colored black, with only an upper body and head, he holds a golden orb to his mouth, the golden orb is said to be the sun.
Phra Rahu is a somewhat fearsome deity, who is worshiped to prevent harm coming to the bearer of gifts.
Gifts usually offered to Phra Rahu include Black grapes for business success, Black liqueur for profitable investment, Black coffee to get what you wish for, Black jelly for patience, Black beans to progress, Black rice wealth and love, Black cake for rewards, Black eggs for successful dealings or favors.
The Story of Phra Rahu
There are many variations of the story of Rahu, which stem mainly from Hindu, Buddhist, Tamil legend. The most common legend is the Hindu one which describes Rahu as an Asura (demon deity) who was transformed into Rahu after drinking an elixir which would assure his immortality. The legend goes on to say that Rahu stole the elixir from the Hindu Deities, but he was seen by Chandra (the moon god) and Surya (the sun god). Chandra and Surya informed Mohini (the female avatar of Vishnu) who promptly chopped off the Asura’s head.
A small amount of elixir had already been sipped by the Asura before Mohini could chop off his head, so his head and upper body had already attained a state of immortality and became Rahu.
Rahu takes his revenge upon Chandra and Surya by swallowing the moon and the sun every time he sees them, thus causing an eclipse.
Phra Rahu in Pattaya
Phra Rahu shrines can be seen and worshipped at may temples in Pattaya, the most well known of which is Huay Yai Temple in East Pattaya.