Hindu settlers in Singapore need a place of worship to share their faith, socialise and celebrate festivities
Besides temple festivities, the Hindu firewalking festival Theemithi has been held at Sri Mariamman Temple annually till today since 1840. This religious practice involves devotees walking across a fire pit in exchange for a wish or blessing to be granted by the goddess Draupadi. Firewalkers make the five-kilometre walk from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to the Sri Mariamman Temple, where they would cross a 3m-long fire pit.
. I first applied for land to build a temple
Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple sits in the heart of Chinatown. Originally constructed out of wood with a roof of attap palm fronds, the temple was reconstructed with bricks by Indian convict labourers in 1843, while the plasterwork was crafted by Madras artisans. The original gopuram (grand tower entrance) built in the late 1800s had no significant ornamental works. In the 1930s, it was rebuilt and in 1962, a new temple structure was developed with intricate sculptures resembling India’s traditional temple architecture. The Sri Mariamman Temple is dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, known for her power to cure diseases and illnesses.
in 1821. We were granted land along Telok Ayer Street, but it lacked a convenient fresh water supply for rituals. With William Farquhar’s allowance, we moved to a plot near Stamford Road Canal—a freshwater stream. From 1822 to 1823, I sat in with the Town Planning committee to discuss location options for our temple. I successfully obtained the land at South Bridge Road in 1823. Finally, Sri Mariamman Temple is established.