Eddie Cheng

Sri Mariamman Temple ~ gopuram (ஸ்ரீ மாரியம்மன் கோவில்9)

*best viewed against a dark background; kindly click on the image*

*** Happy Deepavali / Diwali ***

This is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore and was originally a wood and attap structure built in 1827 by Indian pioneer Naraina Pillay who had arrived with Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. Pillay was also the first recorded Indian immigrant to Singapore and first worked as a Treasury clerk.

Located in the heart of Chinatown, the temple’s ornamental tower entrance or gopuram (the photograph to the left), has been a landmark to generations of Hindu worshippers and Singaporeans alike. Sri Mariamman refers to the Mother Goddess who nourishes and protects all beings. The goddess, Mariamman (to which this temple is dedicated) is known for her healing powers in epidemic diseases such as chicken pox, cholera and smallpox. The main festival celebrated at Sri Mariaman temple is Theemithi (Fire walking ceremony) held annually in October/ November. Other important festivals are Navarathiri and 1008 Sankabishegam.

Once every 12 years, in keeping with Hindu tradition, the temple is reconstructed (and I was one lucky fellow to photograph this beautiful gopuram just a few days later while it was still new).

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