Thursday July 19, 2018
Home Indian Diaspora Sri Mariamman...

Sri Mariamman Temple: All about the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore

The 190-year-old national monument is in South Bridge Road, at the end of rows of shops peddling souvenirs to tourists

0
//
192
Sri Mariamman temple, singapore, Wikimedia
Republish
Reprint

Singapore, May 1: The ornate Sri Mariamman temple, a yarn woven into the rich tapestry of Singapore’s history was the only place with priests who could solemnise Hindu weddings in Singapore in the early days. The national monument in South Bridge Road is at the end of rows of shops peddling souvenirs to tourists, is nearly 190 years old.

Government clerk Naraina Pillai who accompanied the founder of modern Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, on his second visit to the island in May 1819 established the temple in Chinatown. He had been working with the East India Company and sought to get its current site at South Bridge Road from the colonial authorities in 1823 with the purpose of serving early Indian settlers.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

The Sri Mariamman Hindu temple, founded in 1827 is the oldest in Singapore. Its mere presence in the area adds an additional layer of history and heritage to the cultural precinct.

According to Mr S. Nallathamby, 58, Sri Mariamman is one of three religious institutions in the area; the others being the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Jama Mosque.

The chairman of the Sri Mariamman management committee said tourists are very much more interested in the temple for the full cultural experience. On a good day, at least 500 tourists can be found inside the sacred premises of the temple. He said, “This is where the most tourists will come by because they get to see all the three religious institutions along the same stretch of road. Our temple is unique in our design and set-up”.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

Spanish tourist Tania Folgueza, a 29-year-old engineer, agreed and admitted to having wandered into the temple after listening to its drums sounding evening prayers on Tuesday. “It was nice. It’s a whole different world and very different from Europe, which is mostly dotted with churches and cathedrals,” she added.

Mr Nallathamby pointed out that the temple is venerated by the local Hindu community. The statistical report of visitors presented by him states that “between 100 and 200 devotees visit the temple on weekdays, while between 500 and 700 are there on Fridays and weekends”. “The temple is the focus for all aspects of everyday life in the Hindu community – religious, cultural, educational and social,” he stated.

“The temple is the focus for all aspects of everyday life in the Hindu community – religious, cultural, educational and social,” he stated.

According to the report by The Straits Times, it is largely believed by the Hindus that the deity goddess Mariamman can cure illnesses and epidemics. One-month-old babies are brought to the temple for prayers and blessings. Early migrants, who moved here to work during colonial times set up a temple dedicated to the merciful and powerful deity, said Mr Nallathamby.

According to the archives, mostly Indian convict labourers were involved in the construction of the oldest sections of the existing brick structure of the Sri Mariamman temple constructed in 1843. It is believed that a large part of the present monument was built around the early 1860s. But the ground plan of the temple has not changed since 1843.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

The structure was gazetted by the National Heritage Board (NHB) gazetted in 1973. NHB noted that its original three-tiered gopuram, the tower at the entrance of the temple was replaced by its existing ornate five-tiered structure featuring Indian sepoys from the British Raj standing guard with their rifles at hand in 1925.

When Theemithi, the famous fire-walking festival, comes around in October or November every year, the temple becomes the hub of activities and festivities. This tradition has been going on for more than 170 years. Devotees start their 4km procession from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road to Sri Mariamman Temple as part of the celebrations.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

NHB did not forget to mention the highlight of the celebrations; the fire-walking ceremony during which thousands of male devotees walk barefoot across a bed of burning charcoal before stepping into a pit of milk.

The temple has gone through a number of modernization processes in some of its services such as live streaming of webcasts of its major events for the past four years. The temple management mentioned that prayer requests come in from people all over the world.

Mr Nallathamby was appointed as the chairman of the Sri Mariamman temple management committee in 2014. He talked about how his ties to the temple go back a long way. As a child, he used to drop by the temple every Friday. He also remembers the early days, when the place did not have paved stones and used to be full of sand where he would play.

Mr Nallathmaby cited, “I grew up in this neighbourhood and have been visiting the temple for the last 40 years. Never did it come to my mind that (one day) I would lead the temple. I find joy and meaning in life when I help the community run the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore.”

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

0
Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)