Sri Mariamman Temple
Singapore's oldest Hindu temple.
Paradoxically set in Chinatown, even if Singapore has its own Little India district, Sri Mariamman Temple is one of the most significant centers of Hindu social and religious life in the area.
Founded around 1827 by Naraina Pillai and constructed in Dravidian style (a distinctive architecture used in South India by Tamils), the temple is now designated as a National Monument. It’s also dedicated to Sri Mariamman, a folk goddess.
The most outstanding feature of the Sri Mariamman Temple is the towering five-floored gopuram handing above the main entrance. Each floor is slightly smaller than the one below it, making the structure look higher than it actually appears. The gopuram is decorated with sculptures of Hindu mythology, including various deities, exotic beasts, and cultural figures. It’s believed that all of them were crafted by skilled artisans that were brought in from the Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts in southern India.
Another distinctive feature of the temple is the statue of Aravan, a deity that is always worshipped in the form of his severed head. He is said to have sacrificed himself during the great battles of the Mahabharata War.
Know Before You Go
The temple is open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and again from 6:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
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