Singapore Conserves 179-Year-Old Hindu Temple

Singapore:  A 179-year-old Hindu temple in Singapore, which is among the 75 heritage buildings proposed for conservation, will reopen this month after a $5.6 million makeover.

The Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple was built as a small shrine in 1835 by early Tamil immigrants. The temple in the Little India precinct has undergone SGD 7 million ($5.6 million) renovations and is scheduled for reopening on June 22, 2014.

A dozen craftsmen from Tamil Nadu have been doing restoration work to the temple's 640 statues and deities, depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The craftsmen have also restored and painted the temple's eight domes and decorative cement fixtures on its ceilings and facade.

"Some of these feature gold foil embellishments and colourful stones," said the temple's 59-year-old secretary Selvakumar R.

The temple was proposed for conservation under the Draft Master Plan 2013 which was gazetted today. "The temple also served as a place for refuge for devotees during Japanese Occupation of Singapore," a spokesperson at Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said.

The URA spokesperson said the temple was both historically and socially significant. It is one of the 15 places of worship listed for conservation. The temple is popular among Singapore's Tamil
community and migrant workers from South India who spend their weekend and day off in Little India.

Sri Manmatha Karuneshvarar Temple, Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple and Sri Krishnan Temple are also gazetted for conservation under the plan.

Also being conserved under the Plan are the Angullia Mosque Gatehouse and Malabar Mosque, built by early Indian Muslim migrants here.
Story First Published: June 06, 2014 20:16 IST

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