Sri Mariamman Temple Singapore
The Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple. It is anagamic temple, built in the Dravidian style. Located at 244 South Bridge Road, in the downtown Chinatown district, the temple serves mainly Hindu Singaporeans 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.
By 1827, Naraina Pillai had built a simple temple made of wood and attap. In the same year, he installed Sinna Amman, a small representation of the goddess Mariamman, in the temple. Mariamman is a rural South Indian mother goddess who is especially worshipped for protection against diseases. According to the Hindu Endowments Board, the current managers of the temple, the existing deity in the principal shrine of the temple is the original installed by Pillai in 1827. As is the common practice, the temple is named after its principal deity. The temple was also known to devotees over the years as the Sithi Vinayagar and Gothanda Ramaswamy Mariamman Temple or, more simply, Mariamman Kovil (kovil being the Tamil word for temple).
The focus of the main prayer hall is the central shrine of Mariamman, which is flanked by the shrines of two secondary deities, Rama and Murugan. The main prayer hall is surrounded by a series of free-standing shrines, housed in pavilion-like structures with decorated dome roofs, known as Vimana. These are dedicated to the following deities: Durga, Ganesh,Muthularajah (a rural Tamil deity also known as Mathurai Veeran), Aravan and Draupadi.
The shrine to Draupadi is the second most important in the temple, as she is central to the annual timiti or firewalking festival held in this temple. To the left of Draupadi are the fivePandavas from the Mahabharata epic – Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Sahadeva and Nakula. They are presided over by Lord Krishna.
Another important element of the temple is the free-standing flagpole. A few days before major festivals or ritual ceremonies, a flag is raised here. The temple compound also contains Lingam and Yoni sculptures.