If you’ve been to Geylang’s very own Sri Sivan Temple, then you’ll know it’s quite a sight to see. The impressive stacked exterior; the white marble-inlaid prayer hall; the intricate hand-carved details on its dome-like ceiling.
Here’s more information on the history behind one of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temples, as well as daily rituals and monthly festivals held here.
Located in Geylang East, the 173-year-old Sri Sivan Temple was designed by a group of renowned North and South Indian architects.
Built in the early 1850s – just slightly after the construction of Sri Mariamman Temple – the temple was moved 3 times from Dhoby Ghaut to Serangoon before calling its current 3,000 sqft plot of land outside Paya Lebar MRT station home. A place of worship for the god Shiva, the temple features an octagonal structure, a multi-purpose hall, and multiple staff quarters.
This traditional Hindu temple cost a total of $6 million dollars to build. And if you’ve seen it, you’ll see why. It’s made from thousands of pieces of hand-carved marble and limestone by the hands of skilled Indian craftsmen.
But it’s not just beautiful on the outside. Step inside and you’ll find the ancient wisdom of Hinduism represented through an array of paintings and traditional artworks.
For those who are unfamiliar with the god Shiva, he’s one of the main deities of Hinduism who’s known as the master of fertility, poison, and medicine.
Several rituals and festivals happen at Sri Sivan Temple.
There’s the daily ritual, or pooja, which takes place 6 times a day where worshippers make an offering consisting of flowers and fruits to the gods. There’s also a slew of monthly and annual festivals where you can come to offer prayers, such as Maha Shivaratri, Vasantha Navratri, Guru Peryarchi, Navatri, Skantha Shasti, and the Pradoshal Prathosam.
Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple Silver Chariot outside the temple.
Image credit: @srisivantemplesingapore
Pradoshal Prathosam is an important fasting festival that happens twice a month. On these days, those coming by to say their prayers and pay respect to lord Shiva can break fast and enjoy free vegetarian food in the evening. If you’d like to give offerings or archanai during the celebrations remotely, you can do that via Sri Sivan Temple’s website.
Celebrating the god Shiva.
Image credit: @vivekartistinme
The temple also accepts donation which goes towards helping less fortunate families. This is done through the Gift From The Heart programme that’s run by the Hindu Endowments Board.
Regardless of faith, everyone is welcome to make a trip to Sri Sivan Temple.
Entry to the temple is free. Just make sure you’re dressed conservatively. Wear tops with sleeves to cover your shoulders and long pants or skirts to cover your knees. However, the temple does provide shawls and scarves for those who need them.
As a sign of respect, you’ll also have to remove your shoes before stepping inside. If we were you, we’d wear a pair of sandals that’s easy to slip on and off. Remember to lower your voice and avoid any form of PDA like hugging or kissing as you’re in a place of worship.
See, we told you there’s more to Geylang than just shophouses, hawker food, and Geylang Bazaar.
Address: 24 Geylang East Avenue 2, Singapore 389752
Opening hours: 6 am–12 pm & 5.30–9 pm, Daily
Contact: 6743 4566
Cover image adapted from @vivekartistinme
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