Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple
Built in the mid-19th century, the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple was rebuilt and consecrated in 2003. A pair of nine-feet tall Dwarapalakas (demigod gatekeepers) flank the Rajagopuram entrance tower, which features the Chola style of architecture. The Cholas were the greatest temple builders in the history of India.
Don’t forget to take off your shoes and socks as you step into the main hall. Here, you’ll see colorful murals depicting the stories of Lord Vinayagar from the time of his birth till marriage, as well as four granite pillars featuring sculptures of 32 different forms of Lord Vinayagar. These 32 forms of Lord Vinayagar are unique to this temple and not seen in any other Vinayagar temple, even in India. You can also view colorful murals in the hall describing the various narratives of Lord from his birth till marriage. Another concerning feature of this temple is its dome presenting the eight different classes of Goddess Lakshmi in pictures. This dome is renowned as Ashtalakshmi Dome. The temple houses a perfume garden with Jasmine flowers, Roses, Jackfruit, Coconut and Banana trees.
Before a Temple was erected on the site in Ceylon Road a small shrine was put up by Ethirnayagam Pillay and several Tamil labourers. They placed an image of Vinayagar under a Senpaga (Chempaka) tree. This gave the name Senpaga Vinayagar to the deity.
Vinayagar is a facet of the manifestation of the Divine reality which blessed the wandering man with wisdom to develop judgment. Worship of this deity brings harmony to the home, relations, friends and business associates. He is the patron of the Arts and Science and brings culture, creativity and religion into one’s life; Vinayagar is also the personification of material existence and represents abundance and fertility of the earth. Before any ceremony and cultural performance this deity is invoked to seek his blessinga and protection for the success of the occasion. Vinayagar is the spirit that assists the souls in their evolution towards maturity, perfection and purity. He is the embodiment of love, hope and compassion; he with affection forgives failings of human beings who vow to correct their short-comings.
E. Pillay. S. Muthusamy, Rengasamy, K. Vallipuram and V.Subramaniam were appointed to collect funds to build a Temple and four others: S. Muthucmaru, I.Mudaliar Nagalingam, Dr.K. Kramathiapathy and Dr S. Nagalingam among others donated sums of money towards the building fund. A Temple with a wooden roof was erected and the image of Vinayagar was consecrated there.
From 1923 the Temple’s committee of Management was elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Singapore Ceylon Tamils’ Association. In November 1924 under the leadership of S. Muthucumaru decision was taken to build a new Temple with ancillary buildings. By May 1926 the plans had been completed and the chief sculptor arrived from Jaffna, Ceylon, to commence work.
Many Ceylon Tamils donated towards the building the fund and S. Muthucumaru paid for the main shrine, the ‘Moolasthanam’. Other major donors included S.Thillaipalam, Dr N. Moorthatamby, Dr K. Thambipillai, I. Mudaliar Nagalingam, K. Paramoo, M. Velupillai, Kanapathipillai, V. Subramaniam and K. Nadarajah.
On 3 February 1930 the consecation ceremony was held followed by rituals and prayers. In June 1939 the priest’s quarters and a school were completed; these were officially opened in December the same year. On 22 January 1941 during the Japanese invasion of Singapore a bomb fell near the Temple and parts of the buildings were severely damaged. It was through the personal efforts of Dr P. Thillainathan that repairs were carried out and normal activities of the Temple were resumed.
In 1949 renovations were made to the Temple. Major renovations including the erection of the Main Gateway, the ‘Maha Gopuram’, the Cultural Hall were completed in November 1989 largely through the inspiration and driving force of S.M Vasagar who served with distinction as President of the Temple Committee for several years.
The Temple and the Singapore Ceylon Tamil’s Association continue to serve the Ceylon Tamils and other Hindus. The Temple is still a meeting place of the Ceylon Tamils and other Hindus. The Temple is still a meeting place of the Ceylon Tamils helping them sustain their cultural heritage, values and traditions which their ancestors brought to Singapore in the 19th century.
The Sri Senpaga Vinayagar temple is located at 19 , Ceylon Road, Singapore
Getting there and around
Take the MRT to Bugis Station (EW12) and take SBS bus 12 from opposite Bugis Junction. Alight opposite Roxy Square.
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