Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Singapore

Sri Mariamman Temple

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The Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore's oldest Hindu temple. It is an agamic temple, constructed within the Dravidian model. Located at 244 SouthBridge Road, within the downtown Chinatown district, the temple serves the bulk Hindu Singaporeans, Tamilians, within the city-state. Due to its architectural and historic significance, the temple has been gazetted a National Monument and is a significant vacationer attraction. Sri Mariamman Temple is managed by the Hindu Endowments Board, a statutory board beneath the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

The Sri Mariamman Temple was based in 1827 by Naraina Pillai, eight years after the East India Company established a buying and selling settlement in Singapore. Pillai was an authorities clerk from Penang who arrived in Singapore with Sir Stamford Raffles on his second go to to the island in May 1819. Pillai went on to arrange the island's first development firm, and in addition, entered the textile commerce. He quickly established himself in enterprise and was recognized as a frontrunner of the Indian group.


A line drawing of Sri Mariamman Temple
Initially, the British authorities allotted land for a Hindu temple alongside Telok Ayer Street. This road ran alongside Telok Ayer Bay, the place most early Asian immigrants first landed in Singapore, and the place they went to hope and provides thanks for a secure sea journey. The Thian Hock Keng and Nagore Durga Shrine, respectively Singapore's earliest Chinese and Indian Muslim locations of worship, are situated there. However, Telok Ayer Street lacked a handy supply of freshwater which was wanted for Hindu temple rituals.

The British Resident of Singapore, William Farquhar, then let Naraina Pillai occupy a website close to Stamford Canal in 1821. Once once more, the positioning proved unsuitable, this time because of the 1822 Jackson Plan which reserved the Stamford Canal space for different makes use of. However, the plan designated an alternate website subsequent to the prevailing temple – marked as "Kling Chapel". This website was close to the realm earmarked for the Indian group.

In 1823, the present South Bridge Road website was lastly granted to Pillai for the needs of erecting a Hindu temple. The facet streets flanking the temple have been later renamed in reference to the temple and its outstanding tower – Pagoda Street and Temple Street. Informally, Chinatown residents referred to Pagoda Street in Chinese as "again of the Indian place of worship.

Sri Mariamman Temple Location 

Original temple

The authentic three-tiered gopuram.
By 1827, Naraina Pillai had constructed an easy temple made from wooden and attap. In the identical 12 months, he put in Sinna Amman, a small illustration of the goddess Mariamman, within the temple. Mariamman is a rural South Indian mom goddess who is very worshipped for cover in opposition to ailments. According to the Hindu Endowments Board, the present managers of the temple, the prevailing deity within the principal shrine of the temple is the unique put in by Pillai in 1827. As is the widespread apply, the temple is known as after its principal deity. The temple was additionally identified to devotees over time because of the Sithi Vinayagar and Gothanda Ramaswamy Mariamman Temple or, extra merely, Mariamman Kovil.

The social function of the temple

From its inception, Sri Mariamman Temple served as a refuge for brand new immigrants, significantly South Indian Tamil Hindus. Besides offering a vital place of worship for these immigrants, the temple granted them shelter until they discovered work and extra everlasting lodging. Historically, the temple was the registry of marriages for Hindus. At that point, solely the priest of the Sri Mariamman Temple was approved to solemnize Hindu marriages in Singapore. Today, along with its spiritual companies and capabilities, the temple promotes varied social, cultural and academic actions.

Art and structure

Built-in the South Indian Dravidian model, this temple incorporates a gopuram that rises above the principle entrance alongside South Bridge Road. It is richly embellished with six tiers of sculptures of Hindu deities, different figures, and decorative decorations. The tower tapers up in the direction of a molded decorative ridge. The scale of every tier and its sculptures is barely smaller than that of the tier instantly beneath it. This helps to create the phantasm of peak and provides the symbolic significance of the construction. Flanking the gopuram is a sculpture of Murugan on the appropriate and Krishna on the left. The sculptures are all the plaster, which permits advantageous detailing. They are painted in a wide range of vibrant colors, which provides to the visually spectacular high quality of the gopuram.
The ground plan of the gopuram base block is rectangular and is bisected by an entrance passageway. The entrance incorporates a pair of very massive double-leaf timber doorways. The scale of those doorways is meant to induce humility within the customer and emphasize the diminutive human scale in relation to the divine. The doorways are studded with small gold bells organized in a grid sample, which devotees are imagined to ring as they transfer by. Footwear can also be saved across the entrance space, as it isn't allowed inside Hindu temples as an indication of respect.

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Shrines and deities

The focus of the principle prayer corridor is the central shrine of Mariamman, which is flanked by the shrines of two secondary deities, Rama and Murugan. The fundamental prayer corridor is surrounded by a collection of free-standing shrines, housed in pavilion-like constructions with adorned dome roofs, often known as Vimana. These are devoted to the next deities: Durga, Ganesh, and Shiva.
The shrine to Draupadi is the second most vital within the temple, as she is central to the annual restrict or firewalking pageant held on this temple. To the left of Draupadi are the 5 Pandavas from the Mahabharata epic – Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Sahadeva and Nakula. They are presided over by Lord Krishna.

Another vital factor of the temple is the free-standing flagpole. A couple of days earlier than main festivals or ritual ceremonies, a flag is raised right here.


File: Timati pageant at Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore - 1913.ogv
A 1913 movie displaying the timiti pageant on the temple.
Once every 12 years, in line with Hindu customs, the temple is reconsecrated. An annual timiti or hearth strolling ceremony is held a few weeks earlier than Deepavali, the Festival of Lights.

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