Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Singapore's 67th National Monument

Century-Old Hindu Temple

A 155-year-old Hindu temple in Singapore was on Monday declared the 67th national monument of the country, becoming the third Hindu temple on the list

The Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, built in 1859 by the Nattukottai Chettiars, was gazetted by the National Heritage Board (NHB) as a national monument.

The board said the temple is socially, culturally, historically and architecturally significant.

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5 facts about Sri Thendayuthapani Temple
The Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road is the 67th national monument and the third Hindu temple to get on the list. . -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road was gazetted a National Monument by the National Heritage Board on Monday morning. It is the 67th national monument and the third Hindu temple to get on the list. The board said the temple is socially, culturally, historically and architecturally significant. Here are five facts about the temple:

1. The Sri Thendayuthapani Temple was established in 1859, rebuilt in the early 1980s, completed in 1983, and consecrated later that year. The temple was re-consecrated on Nov 27, 2009 after its latest renovations, following the Hindu tradition of renewing temple buildings every 12 years.

2. The Hindu deity, the Tank Road temple is dedicated to, is commonly known by three names: Murugan, Subramanian or Sri Thendayuthapani. The main sanctum of the temple houses the statue of Murugan, while the statues of Shiva (also known as Sundareswarar) and his consort, Sakthi (also known as Meenakshi), are housed in separate sanctums.

3. The Sri Thendayuthapani Temple is also widely known as the Chettiar temple because it was established by the Nattukottai Chettiars. The Chettiars are known to worship Murugan, and have dedicated many temples to this Hindu deity all over the world. The Sri Thendayuthapani Temple is the older of the two temples built by the Chettiar community in Singapore - the other is the Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple on 73 Keong Saik Road which was built in 1925.

4. Known to be pioneers of modern banking in Singapore, the Chettiars arrived in the early 1800s and were traders, merchant bankers and financiers. Besides using the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple primarily as a place of worship, the community also interacted and built their business network there. The temple also functioned as a financial institution for the Chettiars, who were well-known for issuing loans at low interest rates, and generous in allowing their clients more time to settle their debts.

5. The Chettiars are believed to have introduced Thaipusam to Southeast Asia in the 19th century. In Singapore, a procession typically takes place between the two Chettiar temples on the eve of Thaipusam. On the actual day, a larger and grander procession starts at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on 397 Serangoon Road, passes through several other Hindu temples, and ends at the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple.

related: Sri Thendayuthapani Temple expects more visitors with national monument status