Founded in 1827 by Narayana Pillay (the first Indian to set foot in Singapore), this temple was dedicated to Mariamman, the goddess known for curing illnesses and diseases. It’s the largest and oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, and it has played an important role in the Hindu community. In the 1800s, it was a place of refuge for new immigrants to stay until they found work and accommodation.
Theemithi (fire-walking ceremony) is its most important festival since 1840. Legend has it that Draupathi – heroine of the epic poem, the Mahabharata – had to prove her virtuousness by walking barefoot over hot coals. It’s believed that virtuous devotees will also be unharmed when they cross the coals.
You would think that Pagoda Street was named after a Chinese pagoda. But it was, in fact, inspired by the majestic gopuram (grand tower) at the temple’s entrance. Early Chinese
immigrants used its towering prominence as a meeting point, and that’s how the street got its name. Its six-tiered tower – covered with sculptures of gods, goddesses and mythological beasts – is a sight to behold. More than just an ornate landmark, this temple is also a national monument.
Recommended duration: 15 mins
244 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058793 | Daily 5.30am–noon, 6–9pm | Please adhere to the temple’s dress code (e.g. no exposed shoulders or revealing outfits) and remove your footwear before entering. |
(This material is provided by VisitSingapore.com)