Sri Mariamman Temple
There are many attractions that have low cost to actually free, making cheap traveling in Singapore is possible. One of such places in Singapore is the renowned Sri Mariamman Temple. As Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, it would be such a waste to not visit this beautiful temple.
Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, located at 244 South Bridge Road in the downtown Chinatown district. To get there, you can take the MRT to City Hall Station, then take the SBS Transit bus (103, 166 or 197) or the North Bridge Road SMRT (Bus 61). It is opened daily from 7 am to 12 pm and costs no admission fee, perfect for those who went to backpacking in Singapore.
Sri Mariamman Temple, Mariamman Kovil or Kling Street Temple as it was popularly known then, was constructed by immigrants from the Nagapatnam and Cuddalore districts of South India. The temple is a dedication to the goddess Mariamman, who is worshipped to prevent sickness and death. The Sri Mariamman Temple was a shelter for the newly arrived immigrants, providing refuge untill they got permanent shelter and work. The temple was also the main place of worship and now it is a famous national and cultural heritage center.
It is an agamic temple, built in the Dravidian style and it serves mainly South Indian Tamil Hindu Singaporeans in the city-state. The temple’s ornamental tower entrance or Gopuram, has been a landmark to generations of Hindu worshippers and Singaporeans alike. The temple also reflects South Indian architectural influences, as seen by its pagoda-shaped tower. While you are at the entrance of the Sri Mariammam Temple, look up and see the tower covered by figurative sculptures of gods, goddesses and mythological beasts. Visible from afar, this temple will be hard to miss.
Of all the Sri Mariamman Temple’s beautiful features, the Gopuram Tower, which hovers above the entrance on South Bridge Road, is perhaps the most visually outstanding. It has a variety of ornamental decorations and six levels of Hindu deity sculptures made of plaster. The sculptures have very fine details and the sculptures get smaller on each level as one looks up. This makes the building look significantly taller than it really is. On each side of the Gopuram are Murugan and Krishna. The importance of this temple is highlighted by the very bright colors covering its facade. After entering past the large timber doors, embellished with small golden bells, the Gopuram entrance puts the sacred into perspective through its sheer size. Humbled devotees would leave their footwear outside and would ring the bells as they entered. The ceiling reveals a painted ‘mandela’ and the temple is brightened with natural light.
The firewalking festival, Thimithi, is celebrated here annually around October and November each year. The temple is also a choice venue for Hindu weddings. Come here in the early evening and make sure to take off your shoes and dress a bit conservatively. You will see priests, worshippers and musicians taking part in sensual, centuries-old rituals. You will also see many offerings, all beautifully arranged. Mango and coconut leaves are signs of purity; and bananas are signs of abundance. If you only have time for one temple, make a visit to Sri Mariammam as you explore the Chinatown Trail.