Home / Singapore Temples / Sri Thendayuthapani Temple History | Origin of Sri Thendayuthapani Temple Singapore

Sri Thendayuthapani Temple History | Origin of Sri Thendayuthapani Temple Singapore

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ST Temple Timings: From 8:00 am to 12:00 Noon and 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

Pooja Timings at Sri Thendyuthapani Temple:
5.30 AM: Sanganatham
8.00 AM: Abisegham
8.10 AM: Prayer – Kalasanthi Aarathi
12.00 noon: Sanctum Closing
4.30 PM: Abisegham
5.30 PM: Sayalatchai Aarathi
8.30 PM: Arthajama Aarathi / Sanctum Closing

Members of the Chettiar community are ardent devotees of Lord Muruga (Sri Thendayuthapani) and have a profound religious tradition inherent in their blood.

Sri Thendayuthapani Temple

It was after 35 years of their arrival in Singapore, the Chettiar Community built a suitable temple in honour of Sri Thendayuthapani. The temple has its reference in the book “A History of Singapore 1819-1975”, written by C M Turnbull. Subramaniam Temple was the popular name given to the temple by non-Chettiars.

However, earlier they had installed a Vel (spear), representing Lord Muruga, under a peepal tree (arasa maram) at the bank of a pond, where they offered their prayers. Fresh water filled the pond from a waterfall formed from the hill where the present Central Park is located. It was an ideal location for construction of a temple. Before offering prayers to the Holy Vel, the Chettiars took their bath there. The nearby railway line also provided an excellent mode of transport to and from their business establishments at Malaya.

When the government acquired the land for reconstruction of Tank Road, the tree had to be uprooted. The site of the Vel now formed a part of the slip road, which leads to River Valley Road and Clemenceau Avenue.

Before beginning the temple construction, the Chettiars offered prayers at Sivan Temple (presently located at Geylang East) and Sri Mariamman Temple at South Bridge Road. Their associations with these two temples are very significant and are described in the souvenir magazines linked to their recent consecration ceremony.

Singapore Sri Murugan Temple

The First Consecration Ceremony of Sri Thendayuthapani temple:
On the slab stones found at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, the consecration date of the temple is shown as 4th April 1859, which means the construction work of the temple might have started one or two years earlier. Actually, the land, where the present temple stands, was bought by the community from the estate of Mr Oxley, who was the first Surgeon General of Singapore. Originally, the temple was of a simple structure. At the temple entrance, there were two raised platforms similar to that found in Chettiar families in Tamil Nadu. An Alangara mandapam served the purpose of housing the decorated deities during special occasions. There was an Arthamandapam, which was the centre hall that leads to the main sanctum.

The main sanctum was dedicated to Lord Muruga, as Sri Thendayuthapani. Sanctums of Jambu Vinayagar and Iduambar were built on either side of the main sanctum, which are almost similar to the present sanctums. A dining hall with a courtyard, known as Kaarthikai Kattu, was used to serve food during Karthikai and special events like Thaipusam. Under the chapter, “Many Gods”, Roland Braddell, in his book “the Lights of Singapore” (first edition 1935), has described in a carefree manner on how the Chettiars used to feed the people.

“… a great reception is held at the temple to which all are welcome, whatever their race or creed, while the devotees are fed in the courtyard from huge cauldrons of rice and curry, which they pile upon fresh banana leaves..”

The Kaarthikai Kattu, which was built in 1859 was demolished after 122 years later in 1981 to replace with the Chettiars Wedding Hall. Food is served at the ground floor of the wedding hall on Kaarthikai and other occasions. The method of serving food remains the same.

The Evolution of Sri Thendayuthapani Temple:
Some renovation and restoration works were carried out in the old temple on two occasions, and the consecration ceremonies were held in 1936 and 1955. However, in order to keep pace with the development of Singapore, the community felt the necessity to upgrade the temple with modern facilities. During the late seventies, the Nagarathars decided to rebuild the temple at the same site. The temple should be located in the centre with a wedding hall and staff quarters at the adjoining sides. The food courtyard, known as Karthigai Kattu, was replaced by a wedding hall with facilities for car parking. The piling work began on 4th January 1981 and was completed on 19th January 1983. A two-storey staff quarters was also constructed almost during the same time. An impressive Raja Gopuram or the entrance tower was also installed. The 75 feet high Raja Gopuram is one of the tallest gopurams in South East Asia. The entrance to the temple through the tower gate leads to the Arthamandapam, the Alangaramandapam an office on the right and a library on the left.

Singapore Sri Thendayuthapani Temple

There are magnificent images of Hindu deities especially that of the principal deity, intricately sculptured on the pillars, attracting the attention of the visitors. Several stained glasses with figures of Lord Ganesha and other deities etched on them attract the devotees and make them astonished. The temple, constructed with open concept, provides sufficient space to thousands of devotees who gather at the sanctum during the major festivities. The total cost to build the entire temple complex was $ 3.3 million, most of which came from the Chettiars themselves. The newly built temple was consecrated on 24th November 1983. The consecration function was witnessed by the then President Mr. C. V. Devan Nair and the First Lady Mrs. Devan Nair, along with MPs of Indian origin and other dignitaries and thousands of devotees. The temple was consecrated again on 29th November 1996, and gold and silver medallions were released to honour the occasion. After 13 years, the temple was subjected to another renovation process and it was recently consecrated on Friday, 27th of November 2009. Thousands of devotees turned up during both the occasions. A live web telecast of the consecration was also done for the benefit of devotees across the world.

Literary Works on Sri Thendayuthapani:
Several Tamil scholars and poets, who were inspired by Sri Thendayuthapani, had composed songs in praise of Him.
The earliest recorded work is that of Sadisivam Pandithar, a Tamil poet of Jaffna. His poems published in “Singai Nagaranthati” and “Chitrakavikal” in 1887 give some details about the temple. His works became the forerunner to Tamil literature in Malaya and Singapore.

Prominent among other literary works on Lord Thendayuthapani are by R M R Ramanathan and R K M Meyappa Chettiar. Kavignar Kannadhasan, who was a Chettiar and a distinguished poet, had also composed several songs in praise of Lord Thendayuthapani when he visited the temple during late 70’s.

The Temple Management:
Sri Thendayuthapani Temple is one of the oldest temples in Singapore and is visited by all Singapore Hindus. It has the reputation of a well- managed temple. The management is headed by a trustee, who is assisted by representatives of various Kittangis, and it is now called as Chettiars’ Temple Society.

The Trusteeship is replaced annually among the representatives of the Kittangis. Major decisions regarding the temple as well as the community are taken at a meeting of the complete Chettiar community, which is known as Nagara Koottam.

The Chettiar’s Temple Society also manages Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple, which is located at 73 Keong Saik Road in China Town Area.

ST Temple Address:
Sri Thendayuthapani Temple,
15, Tank Road,
Singapore – 238065.
Phone Number: +65 – 6737 9393.

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