Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple is an old Hindu temple with a history dating back to 150 years ago. The calm and peaceful ambience of this spacious temple makes it a popular wedding venue for many Hindus in Singapore.
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From shrine to temple
Going to Sri Senpaga Vinayager Temple, 19 Ceylon Road is a worthwhile visit to see one of Ganesha’s more interesting temple.
According to what I read this temple sits on the site of what was originally a small shrine on the beach set in bucolic serenity on the banks of a pond sheltered by trees. One paused there and looked at the ocean, which in those days, lapped the natural shores a few metres away. (It was yards I those days, but who’s worried.)
All that was in the early 1800s when Joo Chiat was an area covered by plantations and the East Coast Road (when it was built) was called that because it was! It is a long walk to the beach now, but why bother?
Albeit hidden behind commercial buildings and shop houses of bustling East Coast Road, this is a fascinating place and well worth a visit. On the occasions I have dropped in, the devotees have been more than willing to help. They are friendly to the point of insisting that they explain all they can about this colourful temple.
Naturally, there are Indian shops and cafes nearby where you can relax after your visit. I am not a religious person, but if I was to choose a place based on its visual attraction, art, interest and beauty and I was given a choice between this temple and the ghastly gray St Hilda's Anglican Church, a few houses down Ceylon Road from the Temple, I'd opt for the colourful excitement of the Indian outdoors and not the gray boredom of a featureless church where the only colour is from the red glow on the noses of the worshippers.
It deserves its National Heritage Board Historic Site status, though to describe it as heaven on earth, which one woman claimed as she led me through telling me about things I totally did not understand, is a slight stretch.