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Built in 1827, the Sri Mariamman Temple was initially a structure made from wood and attap. In 1843, it was rebuilt with brick and plaster. Visitors enter through a doorway framed by banana fronds, under a gopuram with 72 elaborately crafted Hindu deities. Singapore's oldest Hindu temple, this temple is dedicated to Mariamman, the goddess revered for her ability to cure epidemic illnesses. The annual fire-walking ceremony, the Thimithi Festival, is celebrated here in the month of Aipasi (around October and November). This is when devotees perform penance by walking on a bed of burning coal and emerge unhurt.
The first thing you would notice about the Jamae Mosque is the pair of pagoda-like minarets. Some people feel that this indicates signs of Chinese influences, which would not be surprising since Chinatown is just round the corner. The 1920s saw the building of the first mosque on the premises. This was then replaced by the present building, which was built between 1830 and 1835 by the Chulias, or Muslims from South India. The mosque was gazetted as a national monument in 1974.
Established by the Chettiars from South India, the Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple in Singapore is reflection of some Indian traditions in the region. The temple is always crowded during weekends and you have to stand in a long queue to be able to get in. Established for Lord Ganesha, this place is done in intricate work and detailing is superb. The temple is pretty old now but still very popular in the local area.
Built in 1827, this mosque is known by several other names, one of them is Kuchu Palli. When translated from Tamil, the name means 'hut mosque', which gives us an idea of how the original building must have appeared to the devotees. On the other hand, the Chulias (Indian Muslims from south India) know it as Masjid Chulia. The existing building of brick and plaster was erected in 1850 to 1855. It was gazetted as a national monument in 1974.
This Taoist temple (also known as the Temple of Heavenly Happiness) was built in the early 1840s, at a time when the waterfront was practically at its doorstep. Then, it was merely a humble joss house dedicated to Ma Cho Po, Mother of Heavenly Sages. Sailors gave thanks to her for a safe journey.This is the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore, and perhaps the most cosmopolitan of all, if you consider the Dutch Delft tiles in the courtyard, English motif tiles at the altar, and Scottish cast iron girdles at the doorway. Interestingly, it was built without using a single nail.
One of the oldest Tamil Muslim mosques in the Straits Settlements, the Nagore Durgha Shrine was completed in 1830. Sometimes called Masjid Chulia, it initially served as a cultural center for early Tamil immigrants. The building is dedicated to the memory of Shahul Hamid Durgha, a holy man from Nagore, southern India, whose tomb can be found within the mosque. Because of this, some people feel this building is actually a 'keramat', (place of veneration) not a mosque. Architecturally, it presents an intriguing blend of classical and Indian-Muslim motifs, surmounted by turrets. Note also the Doric columns and Palladian doors.
There are more than 40 Methodist churches in Singapore, but the Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church in Chinatown is certainly the most important. The church was built in 1924 and served as a refuge during World War II, and has been designated a national monument for its important role in Singapore’s history. It also remains a very active church and is the base for the senior pastor and multiple choirs. The church offers services every Sunday in the English, Mandarin, and Hokkien languages, and everyone is welcome.
The Seng Wong Beo Temple is a very unique temple in Singapore. The god, who is prayed to, is the Chinese City God, who looks after the well-being of the city and guides dead souls to the underworld. This deity is very revered in the area and is the only temple in the city that hosts ghost marriages. It is basically for people who have lost their younger ones and the marriage ceremony is for them to have a happy afterlife.