Thursday, 30 October 2014

NHB: Restoration of 3 National Monuments

3 national monuments to get a total of S$1.1m in grants for restoration works

Three ageing national monuments have been awarded grants to offset the cost of restoration works. 
The three are: Sultan Mosque, Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre and Sri Mariamman Temple.

The mosque will receive S$1.02 million from the National Monuments Fund (NMF) this month, the heritage centre will get S$47,700 and the temple will receive S$55,780.

For Sultan Mosque, gazetted in 1975, the fund is the second largest approved tranche of funding since the NMF’s inception. The proposed works will also be the first time the near-century-old mosque in Kampong Glam will be restored since it was rebuilt in 1924 to 1928.


The Sultan Mosque is receiving the largest grant totalling $1.02 million. It is the first major restoration project for the mosque which was completed in 1928 after 4 years of building. The mosque is also in dire need of restoration works as there are problems such as spalling concrete and deteriorating woodwork on all the windows and doors. Other additions which the new funds will see brought to the mosque include a lift for elderly worshippers and more water-saving features in the ablution areas.

The Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre will be receiving $47,700 to address its damp problems. The centre will have to raise the remaining $5,300 for the repair costs.

The Sri Mariamman temple will also be receiving $55,780 to fix up structural issues which are becoming more and more apparent. Recently a large crack line was seen forming on a support column of the temple.

Masjid Sultan
Masjid Sultan (Jawi: مسجد سلطان ;Malay for Sultan Mosque; is located at Muscat Street and North Bridge Road within the Kampong Glam district of Rochor Planning Area in Singapore. The mosque is considered one of the most important mosques in Singapore. The prayer hall and domes highlight the mosque's star features.

When Singapore was ceded to the British in 1819, Temenggong Abdul Rahman, the island's chief, and Sultan Hussain Shah of Johore, under whose jurisdiction Singapore fell, acquired small fortunes in exchange for their power. Sir Stamford Raffles also granted the Temenggong and the Sultan an annual stipend and the use of Kampong Glam for their residence.

The area around Kampong Glam was also allocated for Malays and other Muslims. Hussain built a palace there and brought his family and a complete entourage from the Riau islands. Many of the Sultan's and Temenggong's followers came to Kampong Glam from the Riau Islands, Malacca and Sumatra. Sultan Hussain then decided to build a mosque befitting his status. He constructed a mosque next to his palace from 1824 to 1826 with funds solicited from the East India Company. With a two-tiered pyramidal roof, it was of a typical design. The original building was replaced with a new mosque.

Nagore Durgha
The Nagore Durgha (or Nagore Dargah) is a shrine in Singapore built by Muslims from southern India between 1828 and 1830, and was originally known as Shahul Hamid Dargha. When this shrine was first built, Telok Ayer Street where the shrine is located was a sandy beach crowded with sailing craft. While its physical surroundings have changed beyond recognition, the monument itself – save for conservation and preservation work in 2007 – has changed little since the late 19th century. It has a unique blend of Classical and Indian Muslim motifs.

Nagore Durgha was built to commemorate a visit to the island by a Muslim holy man of the Chulia people (Muslim merchants and moneylenders from India's Coromandel Coast), who was travelling around Southeast Asia spreading information about Indian Islam. The land on which the shrine stands was granted to a certain man named Kaderpillai in 1827 on condition that it was not to be used for a building of wood and attap.

In 1893, by an order of court, the Nagore Durgha property came under new trustees who were also appointed for the Masjid Al-Abrar. The building resembles a multi-tiered wedding cake, its sharp arches decorated with intricate moldings. The architectural features of the building blend classical motifs like moulded arches and columns with Indian Muslim elements such as perforated grilles at the roof. In 1974, it was gazetted a national monument. The shrine was closed in the 1990s due to fears that the structure would weaken. Restoration works to turn the shrine into an Indian Muslim heritage centre started in January 2007 and were due to be completed in the fourth quarter of the same year at a cost of S$1.8 million. President S. R. Nathan attended a fund-raising event organised by Indian Muslims on 3 December 2006; at that time, the community had raised $200,000.

Sri Mariamman Temple

The Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore's oldest Hindu temple. It is an agamic temple, built in the Dravidian style. Located at 244 South Bridge Road, in the downtown Chinatown district, the temple serves the majority Hindu Singaporeans, Tamilians, in the city-state. Due to its architectural and historical significance, the temple has been gazetted a National Monument and is a major tourist attraction. Sri Mariamman Temple is managed by the Hindu Endowments Board, a statutory board under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

The Sri Mariamman Temple was founded in 1827 by Naraina Pillai, eight years after the East India Company established a trading settlement in Singapore. Pillai was a government clerk from Penang who arrived in Singapore with Sir Stamford Raffles on his second visit to the island in May 1819. Pillai went on to set up the island's first construction company, and also entered the textile trade. He rapidly established himself in business and was identified as a leader of the Indian community.

Initially, the British authorities allotted land for a Hindu temple along Telok Ayer Street. This street ran alongside Telok Ayer Bay, where most early Asian immigrants first landed in Singapore, and where they went to pray and give thanks for a safe sea journey. The Thian Hock Keng and Nagore Durgha Shrine, respectively Singapore's earliest Chinese and Indian Muslim places of worship, are located there. However, Telok Ayer Street lacked a convenient source of fresh water which was needed for Hindu temple rituals.

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