The Historians

Monday, March 9, 2015


There comes a time where the trail takes a more serious turn where we made our way from Albert Centre to two of the oldest temples in Singapore. We intended to take some photos inside the temple but since photo-taking of the temples on the inside is prohibited, we managed to only took photos of the exterior and the crowd in the Guan Im Temple making their offerings a few weeks before Chinese New Year. But what is notable about the two temples is that most worshipers would pray in both temples rather than in one.

The exterior of the Guan Im Temple. As usual, there were many people making their offerings at the temple. 

The many flower stores, with the flowers to be used as offerings at the two temples.

Our next stop was the Guan Im Temple, one of the oldest Chinese temples in Singapore. Built in 1884, the temple serves as a place of worship for local devotees of Guan Yin, the Chinese goddess of mercy. The temple is a fine example of late 19th century temple courtyard architecture. The temple went through a couple of additions and alterations in 1895 and was later demolished in the late 1970s. It was rebuilt from scratch in 1982, expanding the temple twice in size to cater the needs of the devotees. The temple was officially designated a historic site by the National Heritage Board in 2001. This is also the first temple in Singapore to provide divination slips with English translations for English-educated devotees and tourists.

The Sri Krishnan Temple on the outside. 

Since we were unable to enter the temple as it was bustling with worshippers, most likely praying for Chinese New Year blessings, we moved on to the Sri Krishnan Temple which was right next to the Guan Im Temple. Established in 1870, a few years earlier than the establishment of the Guan Im Temple, the temple is one of the only Southern Indian Hindu temples in Singapore dedicated exclusively to Sri Krishna (an avatar of Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Being) and his consort, Rukmini. The temple was established when Hanuman Been Singh set up an idol of Sri Krishna under a banyan tree at Waterloo Street. The number of worshipers grew extensively over the years, with the people in charge of the temple passed on from successor to successor over the years.

Since the temple is next to the Guan Im Temple, many Chinese devotees light joss sticks at the Sri Krishna Temple as well. The temple’s management decided to build an altar dedicated to Guan Yin, with religious activities at the temple include those by The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Though there were less people present in the temple compared to the Guan Im temple, all of us took a good look at the temple and its architecture and compare the similarities and differences between this temple and the Guan Im Temple. 

Since we have come to the end of the Bugis area, the rest of the group gave a round of applause to me for the comprehensive guide around the vicinities before Nisa takes over a guide for the places around Waterloo Street. ~ Jia Hui

All of us celebrated the end of the trail in the Bugis area. But our journey has only begun from this point onwards. 

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