Saturday, 6 May 2017

Singapore Day 1

The start of the adventure with Avalon, our time away commences in Singapore. A cloudy morning which is keeping the temperature down a little. The view from our room overlooks the Pan Pacific, and is just a couple of blocks from the Singapore Flyer.

We caught the train to Little India and walked along taking in all the sights of the various stalls selling the beautiful floral garlands they adorn the deities at the temples with, the gold jewelry and wondrous clothes.

Little India is a buzzing historic area that shows off the best of Singapore’s Indian community it once had a racecourse, cattle herders and brick kilns. But while these places and people are gone, time stands still in pockets of this historic district. Olden-day trades sit next to newer businesses as well as arts groups. In the 1840s, Europeans lived here mainly for the racecourse, where they met and mingled. When cattle trading took root, it became a mostly Indian trade as traders hired Indian migrant workers. Certain goods and services took off, and mosques and Hindu temples were built.

The first building of note we came across is the residence of Tan Teng Niah a brightly colored landmark that stands along the arts belt in Little India. It is the last remaining Chinese villa in history of Little India Singapore. Tan Teng Niah, a successful businessman who owned a confectionary business and various other smaller businesses, built the villa in 1900 for his wife.

We then walked to Shree Lakshminarayan Temple a place of worship and devotion for the North Indian community in Singapore since the 1969. It is a sanctuary of the spiritual values and culture of Sanatan Darm and Vedic Hindu tradition. The early North Indian community arrived in Singapore during the early 20th century. Before the Shree Lakshminarayan Temple existed, The North Indians had no special place of worship. In 1960s, several residential units were purchased and converted into the Shree Lakshminarayan Temple by the community.

We were welcomed by all the people of temple so warmly and were taken personally around the temple and shown each deity and had all our questions answered were gifted blessings from the gods and goddesses a very humbling experience in this very personal temple.

Here Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi are worshipped.

We then walked on along the streets amongst all the weekend people of Singapore to Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple Little India’s prettiest and bustling. Lying at the heart of Little India on Sarangoon Road, this Hindu temple dates all the way back to the 19th century, although the present structure was completed much more recently. Hundreds of tiny colourful statues blanket the exterior of the temple structure.

Within the temple was a shrine dedicated just to Saraswati, so I stopped and paid respects to this Goddess.

After watching the rituals in the temple we walked along and came across this amazing park with umbrella trees, I just loved the uniqueness of this instillation by Ms Marthalia Budiman inspired by the trees in the precinct providing  shade.

Our next stop was the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple often referred to as the ‘Temple of 1,000 Lights’ due to adjacent room containing all those many lights. The main feature of this Buddhist temple, which is one of the most popular of its type in both Little India and Singapore, is the central 15-metre tall Buddha statue. The temple was built in the 1927 by a Thai monk, and the Siamese influences are clear to be seen throughout. 

Next door is the Leong San Temple Dating from 1917, this relatively modest temple is dedicated to goddess of mercy Kuan Yin. The temple's name translates as Dragon Mountain Temple, and both its wooden beams and tiled roof ridge are decorated with animated dragons, chimera, flowers and human figures.

We then walked back to the train and caught it to Chinatown to explore the other main significant cultural aspect of Singapore. We walked down Pagoda street amongst the sight and sounds of the little lane ways with Chinese lanterns blowing in the breeze above us.

The first temple we saw here Sri Mariamman Temple is one of the most prominent places of worship for Tamil Hindus in the country and The oldest shrine in Singapore. It was built to honour Goddess Mariamman – the deity of disease and protection. Originally erected by Naraina Pillai – an Indian trader from Penang – in 1827, the temple was modified to its present structure in 1862, although it has undergone several renovations since. Apart from being a place of worship, the temple has also acted as an asylum for new immigrants that belong to South Indian Tamil Hindu community. Sri Mariamman Temple is a fine illustration of Dravidian-style architecture. 

Unfortunately this temple was closed for temple washing at the time of visit so we were unable to enter inside.

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is a remarkable four-story temple. When entering the gate, you’ll immediately notice the stunning main hall with its high ceiling. The temple is built in a style based on the Buddhist mandala and integrated with the Buddhism of the Tang dynasty. The sacred building was founded in 2002 and opened to public only in 2007. 

We were lucky enough to enter the temple during worship time and were able to listen to the chanting whilst we walked around the temple admiring the absolutely beautiful statues.

Buddah Maitreya


Then we returned to the hotel for a rest before dinner. This is the interior of the hotel foyer area. We are on the 17th floor.

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