The spiritual principles symbolically represented in Hindu temples near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve are given in the ancient Sanskrit texts of India. The layout, the motifs, the plan and the building process recite ancient rituals, geometric symbolism, and reflect the beliefs and values innate within various schools of Hinduism. A Hindu temple in Singapore is a spiritual destination for many Hindus, as well as landmarks around which ancient arts, community celebrations and economy have flourished. The Hindu temples around Bukit Timah Nature Reserve come in many styles, are situated in diverse locations, deploy different construction methods and are adapted to different deities and regional beliefs, yet almost all of them share certain core ideas, symbolism and themes. The current state and outer appearance of Hindu temples reflect arts, materials and designs as they evolved over two millennia; they also reflect the effect of conflicts between Hinduism and Islam since the 12th century.
The Hindu temples around Bukit Timah Nature Reserve reflect a synthesis of arts, the ideals of dharma, beliefs, values, and the way of life cherished under Hinduism. It is a link between man, deities, and the Universal Purusha in a sacred space. It represents the triple-knowledge of the Vedic vision by mapping the relationships between the cosmos (brahmanda) and the cell (pinda) by a unique plan that is based on astronomical numbers. The temple form and its iconography is a natural expansion of Vedic ideology related to recursion, change and equivalence.
Top 4 Temples Near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
We have shortlisted 4 temples near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve which are considered as a sacred site whose ambience and design attempts to symbolically condense the ideal tenets of Hindu way of life. All the cosmic elements that create and sustain life are present in a Hindu temple in Singapore – from fire to water, from images of nature to deities, from the feminine to the masculine, from the fleeting sounds and incense smells to the eternal nothingness yet universality at the core of the temple. The underlying principle in a Hindu temple is built around the belief that all things are one, everything is connected. The pilgrim is welcomed through a network of art, pillars with carvings and statues that display and celebrate the four important and necessary principles of human life – the pursuit of prosperity, wealth, pleasure, sex, virtues, ethical life, release, and self-knowledge:
1. Sasanaransi Buddhist Temple
It was built by a Burmese expatriate to serve the overseas Burmese Buddhist community and is, therefore, also known as the Burmese Buddhist Temple. It was previously located in Little India, off Serangoon Road, and was relocated to its current location in 1991. It is a multi-storied building, the interiors of which are embellished with paintings depicting events in Buddha’s life and on the third story is a standing gold image of Buddha. Surround by a halo of colorful lights, is a 3.3m tall Buddha statue built from a 10-ton block of marble.
2. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
The five-storey Buddhist temple houses the left canine tooth of Lord Buddha. The tooth is said to have been recovered from his funeral site in Kushinagar.
Location: 288 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058840
Opening hours: 7 am 7 pm; Relic-viewing 9 am 6 pm
Entry fee: Free
3. Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
One of the best places of historical significance in Singapore, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, it was built in the year 1881, which is dedicated to goddess Kali who is a fierce embodiment of Shakti. Many images within the temple show kali wearing garlands of skulls and ripping out the insides of her victims. This popular historical site was built by migrated Hindus. It resides proudly in the heart of little India, this place has many stories to tell about the colonial Singapore. The intricate carvings and sharp detailing make this temple even more attractive. People used this amazing monument as a shelter when japan air-raided Singapore during world war II. People taking refuge in this temple were unharmed as the bombing did not have any effect on the temple or its monuments. This beautiful temple was redesigned in 2014 with six stories and colorful interiors. Though this temple is older than a century, due to the renovation one cannot tell its age.
Location: 141 Serangoon Rd, Singapore
4. Kuan Yin Thong Hood Cho Temple
This is a Buddhist temple near Bugis street in Singapore which dates back to 1884 and is built in the typical Chinese style of architecture. One of the most visited temples in the city, it is believed that the wishes of the worshippers are fulfilled after praying at this place. The main deity is Cundi Bodhisattva meaning the God of Mercy. Every year on the day of Chinese New Year, the temple is open for the whole night and a long queue of people can be seen who come here to pray and start the year on an auspicious note.
Location: 178 Waterloo St, Singapore 187964
Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM
These Hindu temples near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve are meant to encourage reflection, facilitate purification of one’s mind, and trigger the process of inner realization within the devotee. The specific process is left to the devotee’s school of belief. The primary deity of different Hindu temples varies to reflect this spiritual spectrum. Book your Singapore holiday to explore these architectural and spiritual marvels. You will be surprised by how peaceful you feel at the end of this religious pilgrimage. Ready to embark on a spiritual sojourn yet?
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