Sri Thendayuthapani Temple in Singapore
Sri Thendayuthapani Temple also known as Chettiars’ Temple is one of the oldest temple in Singapore and was built in the year 1859 A.D. by Nattukkottai Chettiars. Chettiars’ Temple Society , the management body of Sri Thendayuthapani Temple also maintains another temple called Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple located in the center of China Town at 73, Keong Saik Road.
Sri Thendayuthapani temple listed in Singapore Tourism Board, as a tourist attraction, has a picturesque location and magnificent vicinity. It sprawls over a spacious area and is airy and bright.
The main deity of this temple is Lord Thendayuthapani also called Murugan or Kartikeya. Lord Thendayuthapani has other names such as Balasubrahmanyan, Shanmukhan, Swaminathan, Vallimanalan, Palaniandavar, Arumugan, Saravanan, Sevar Kodiyon, etc.
At the entrance of the main sanctum, Lord Jambu Vinayagar has been erected on the right and Idumban on the left. In 1878, two separate sanctums were built for Lord Sundareswarar and Meenakshi Amman (incarnation of Lord Sivan and Goddess Sakthi). Later, all other important deities including the Navagrahas were erected.
The Temple has a beautifully decorated “Alangara Mandapam” which is used on auspicious days to place the procession deity.
Poojas are performed by Pandarams for deities in Sri Thendayuthapani Sanctum and by Sivacharyas (Brahmins) for deities in other sanctums.
As a landmark of all the Hindu Temples in Singapore, 75 feet tall RAJAGOPURAM was completed in 1983. The consecration ceremony was conducted on 24-11-1983. Subsequently the whole temple was renovated and repainted again in 1996, followed by Maha Kumbhabishegam (Consecration Ceremony) held on 29-11-1996.
In 1983, modern amenities were added to the temple facilities along with the consecration ceremony, including a Wedding and dining hall.
Now, the temple has a separate staff quarters, a library, an office room and a spacious and well-decorated stage for cultural performances during special occasions.
Every year six important festivals are celebrated with great pomp and grandeur, which are: Thai Pusam, Letcha Archanai for Meenakshi Amman & Durgai Amman, Navarathri, Skanda Sashti and Thiru Karthigai.
On the occasion of Guru Poojai and Karthigai (an auspicious day falling on every month), delicious varieties of dishes is being served to the devotees in the afternoon after the prayer.
History of Temple
The Chettiar community is deeply rooted in the Hindu tradition especially in the Saiva Siddhantha. Members of the community are very devoted to Sri Thendayuthapani also called as Lord Muruga.
But it was not until 35 years after their arrival in Singapore that they constructed a proper temple in honour of Sri Thendayuthapani. C M Turnbull, in her book A History of Singapore 1819-1975 records that the Nattukkottai Chettiars built the Subramaniam Temple (a popular name given to the temple by non Chettiars) in Tank Road in 1859.
However prior to that year, they had installed a Vel (spear). a representation of Lord Muruga, under a tree where they offered their prayers. The Vel was installed below a pipal (arasa maram) tree at the bank of a tank (pond). Fresh water from the hill where the Central Park is now, emerged as a waterfall and filled the tank. The location was ideal for the establishment of a temple. The Chettiars took their bath there before offering their prayers to the Vel.The railway line nearby also provided an excellent form of transport to and from Malaya where they had also established their businesses. The tree had to be uprooted when the government acquired the land for re-doing Tank Road. The site where the Vel was now forms part of the slip road that leads to River Valley Road and Clemenceau Avenue.
Prior to the proper construction of their temple, the Chettiars visited and offered their prayers at the Sivan Temple, now relocated at Geylang East and at Sri Mariamman Temple at South Bridge Road. Their important associations with these two temples are described in their recent consecration ceremony souvenir magazines.
The slab stones found at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple show that the temple was consecrated on 4.4.1859. That would mean that the building works had started one or two years earlier. In fact the community bought the land, where the present temple stands, from the estate of Mr Oxley, the first Surgeon General of Singapore. The temple in its original form was of a simple structure. At the entrance to the temple, two raised platforms similar to that found in Chettiar households in Tamil Nadu were erected. It had an alangara mandapam and an artha mandapam. The alangara mandapam was used to house the decorated deities on special occasions while the artha mandapam was the centre hall leading to the main sanctum. The main sanctum was of course dedicated to Lord Muruga in the form of Sri Thendayuthapani. The Jambu Vinayagar and Iduambar sanctums were constructed on either side of the main sanctum somewhat similar to the present sanctums. A dining hall with a courtyard, called the Kaarthikai Kattu was used for serving food on Karthikai and special occasions such as Thaipusam. Under the chapter, “Many Gods”, Roland Braddell, in his book, “the Lights of Singapore”, (first edition 1935) describes quite light heartedly on how the Chettiars used to feed the people.
The Kaarthikai Kattu, erected in 1859 was demolished about 122 years later in 1981 to make way for the Chettiars Wedding Hall. Food is served at the ground level of the wedding hall on days when Kaarthikai is observed and on other occasions. The method of serving food remains the same.
Rituals performed at Chettiars’ Temple (Sri Thendayuthapani Temple) everyday:
|8:10 a.m.||Prayers – Kalasanthi Aarathi|
|5:30 p.m.||Sayalatchai Aarathi|
|8:30 p.m.||Arthasamam Aarathi|
Other Facilities at Temple
Wedding Hall – Considering the needs of the society in the developed counties like Singapore, Sri Thendayuthapani Temple also provides the facility to perform marriage rituals for the Hindus. Within the temple premises a two-storey big marriage hall called “Chettiar Wedding Hall”, is available. The marriage hall is fully air-conditioned and decorated nicely according to the custom of Hindus, in the second level. A spacious hall is available in the first level for serving food. The services of priest, nadaswaram (traditional hindu music instrument) etc. are also provided. This hall can also be used to perform other religious related functions.
Thevaram – Thirunavukarasar, who vitalised the shivaism in Tamil Nadu, has blessed the land with the songs characterised by the deep philosophic sense. These songs are very simple and easy to understand, and kindle the light in oneself. Yet we need to bring these to the next generations to worship the lord. The songs are taught in the temple on Saturdays and Sundays. The class for the first level is offered on Saturdays for the kids, and the second level is offered for the youngsters on Sundays.
Head shaving (Tonsuring) – Head shaving (Tonsuring) is being done on every Sunday between 8.00 AM to 11.30 AM, within the premises of Sri Thendayuthapani Temple. Devotees can use the in-house toilet and bathing facility. Hot water is being provided (strictly for children only). Devotees who wish to fulfill their vows are requested to visit the temple on Sunday morning within the above-stipulated timings. For more information please contact the temple officials at 6737 9393.
Location of Temple
Sri Thendayuthapani Temple (also known as Chettiars’ Temple)
15, Tank Road, Singapore 238065
Phone: +65 – 6737 9393 , Fax: +65 – 6735 0804
Temple Official website : http://www.sttemple.com
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