Saturday, February 21, 2015

Celebrate Monuments! At Sri Thendayuthapani Temple

Sri Thendayuthapani Temple was recently gazetted as a National Monument. On 11 January 2015, I have had the great pleasure to attend one of the guided tours at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple organized by the Preservation of Sites and Monuments, a division of the National Heritage Board.

Located at 15 Tank Road, the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple was built in the year 1859 C.E. by Nattukkottai Chettiars. The main deity of this temple is Lord Sri Thendayuthapani who is also known as Lord Murugan.

Ringing the bells to inform the Gods of one's arrival to the temple.

During the tour, I was particularly attentive to learn why the Nattukkottai Chettiars build Murugan Temples wherever they settle. I learnt that the rituals performed in Sivan Temples require Brahmin priests. In the past, before the third quarter of the 19th century, Brahmin priests were prohibited from crossing the seas. The establishment of a Thendaythapani Temple wherever the Nattukkottai Chettirs settled outside India provided a good solution because non-Brahmin priests could be engaged for the rituals in the Thendaythapani Temples.

Our dear tour-guide was Arlane. She offered us a very interesting perspective to the design and architecture of the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple as well as the history of the temple. I have to thank her for a thoroughly well-prepared and interesting guided tour.

The tour aside, I observed many interesting moments in the temple. I was particularly thankful for the beautiful music that the musicians provided during one of the prayer rituals. The music felt like sacred gift of sounds from heaven.

Throughout the guided tour, I listened to stories after stories about Lord Murugan. Through the stories, we learn about important values for humanity to be mindful of. Admittedly, there was an information overload and I cannot recall every single story. I do remember Lord Murugan is the younger brother of Lord Sri Vinayagar, more commonly known as Ganesha.

Statue of Lord Murugan with the Vel.

We were lucky people. During the tour, we have had the privilege to catch a glimpse of the Silver Chariot. This Silver Chariot is one of the rare three of its kind in the world. The other two silver chariots are found in Rangoon and Vietnam. This silver chariot would be used during the Silver Chariot procession the day before Thaipusam.

At the end of the Celebrate Monuments! guided tour, we were granted special access to a part of the temple whereby we could get a special view of the temple. The tour concluded with an unexpected yet welcomed treat to light refreshments. Many thanks to the people from Sri Thendayuthapani Temple for their generosity and hospitality.

Located in a spacious area and picturesque location, Sri Thendayuthapani Temple is also listed as a tourist attraction by the Singapore Tourism Board. I personally think that attending a guided tour of the temple will be a wonderful choice, at least for folks like myself who are not familiar with both the temple's architectural design and the religion, Hinduism.

Sri Thendayuthapani Temple (also known as the Chettiars' Temple)
15 Tank Road
Singapore 238065
Tel: 67379393
Nearest MRT: Dhoby Ghaut MRT station (5 minutes walk away)
Bus services available: 54, 64, 123, 139, 143.

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