Travelling in Singapore is easy. Right away from the arrival terminal, I hop on the MRT to the hostel in Chinatown.
After dropping my bags, there’s one thing to do before browsing the country. Call me nostalgic, but when I was small, every time we, my family and I, come to Singapore, we always go to Orchard.rd. to buy ice cream from the old man for SGD$1. It’s a big chunked of corn ice cream bread sandwich (or cracker).
Hmmm…. can’t go wrong. I bought 2. The ice cream men usually stationed in front of Takashimaya and/or Wisma Atria.
Didn’t get to see the real Merlion, but see some street art. A Merlion made of tires.
Taking the MRT to see Little India. I get down in Ferrer St. MRT and walk along the map. I’ve seen a lot of colourful buildings, shops and houses alike.
Don’t forget to shop colourful bangles, pashmina, shawls and other India’s trinkets at Little India Arcade. And let you bargain for a reasonable price if you buy a lot.
Apparently, the month of October is a celebration of Deepavali (Diwali) Festival, a festival of lights. These days the local wear new dress, pray, eat sweets and sharing with the family. The celebration is to celebrate the return of Lord Rama (from Ramayana) from his war against Rahwana. Also to celebrate the victory of Lord Kresna from slaying the Demon King Narakasura. It also for the spiritually of the inner light, purity and the ‘oneness’ of all things in life.
The Sri Srinivasa Peruma Temple located in Little India on Serangoon Road.
The entry gate, ‘Rajagopuram/Gopuram‘, with it’s colorful ornate statues at the entry way, depicting the epic story of Lord Vishnu and/or the many incarnation of the Lord Vishnu.
Lord Vishnu and his wife, Dewi Lakshmi
Visitors should take off his/her shoes to enter the temple. The Sri Srinivasa Peruma Temple is established by the Hindu community in Singapore and it is the oldest shrine here dedicated to Peruma (Lord Vishnu). Because of the Deepavali (Diwali) Festival, I have the chance to take some photos of the celebration.
From Little India, taking the MRT again to Chinatown.There are a couple of notable streets here:
- Pagoda Street & Temple Street are named because of Sri Mariamman Temple.
- Mosque Street is named after Jamae Mosque.
- Sago Lane & Sago Street because some Sago factories located here.
- Smith Street is named after Sir Cecil Clementi Smith.
Along the South Bridge Road we see the Sri Mariamman Temple, Jamae Mosque and Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum almost side by side.
China Town MRT
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is located at 288 South Bridge Road, is based on the Tang Dynasty architecture and the sacred Buddhist Mandala.
The Mountain Gate, Courtyard, Bell and Drum Towers. Unfortunately, Ziggy’s lens isn’t wide enough to get the bell towers on the either sides.
And its entry guardians, Nio, two wrathfully guardians, Nàluóyán jīngāng held a vajra mallet and bare-handed Mìjī jīngāng, are the manifestations Bodhisattva Vajrapāṇi who protect Buddha during his travel.
Hundred Dragons Hall – Maitreya Hall
The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara
Stepping inside the temple, a beautiful, beautiful ornate hall. We are told not to make a lot of noise, so it’s quiet and peaceful.
Behind the statue, there’s a Dhāraṇī written in Sanskrit with the Siddhaṃ script. The writing is from a Tibetan Buddhism to focus on the sound to attain eight hundred samādhis and enlightenment. Alongside, there are zodiac protectors and smaller statues of Cintamanicakra Avalokitesvara.
The second floor hold the Exhibition Hall showing calligraphy, arts, scriptures and sculptures.
The Temple’s miniature
Sample of drawing and calligraphy
The second floor also have Lotus Heart Teahouse – Refined Pure Teahouse; the Tea and Souvenir Shop where we can dine in a traditional vegetarian dish or try the assorted teas or browse around for gifts, incense, glass lamps, Buddhist books/scriptures, and Buddhist robes for not-so-reasonable price of around S$60 – S$70.
The first settlement of Chinese immigrants in Singapore are given a piece of land by Sir Stamford Raffles. The area become one of busy market and shops in Singapore.
Before, it was knows as Kreta Ayer or in Malay, means ‘Water Cart‘, because they used to carry water with bullock and ox carts to carry drinking water at that time. Once upon a time, this area also sold Sago, hence the name Sago Street and Sago Lane, where the Temple stands in between. It was called Little Temple Street by the Chinese since there was a Tua Peh Kong Temple previously. Also called by the Cantonese, ‘the Street of the Dead‘, as it was used by many funeral parlours and hospices.
Samantabhadra Hall – Nagapuspa Buddhist Culture Museum hold a collection of Buddhist artefacts and all kinds of representations of Buddha. More or less 300 pieces of artefacts and works of arts from Pakistan, China, Korea, Myanmar, Thailand.
We can’t take photo at the next hall unfortunately. At Sacred Buddha Relics Chamber, have the Sarira or bone relic, intestine relic, blood relic, brain relic, and tongue relic. These are the representation of Buddha Sakyamuni body upon his death. They form crystals of spiritual energy, as a force of nature for wisdom, labor, free of lust, greed and lust.
Sacred Light Hall – Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic Chamber, (again, we’re not allowed to take photos here, check the linked site for photos), reserve for praying and offering to the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic.
On each corners there is a small pagoda housing a Buddha statue. These four corners representing the four cardinal points. From the site:
Aksobhya Buddha of the Eastern Realm of Fragrance;
Ratnaketu Buddha (or Buddha of Treasured Appearance) of the Southern Realm of Happiness;
Amitabha Buddha (or Buddha of Limitless Life) of the Western Realm of Tranquillity and Bliss;
Amoghasiddhi Buddha (or Buddha of Subtle Hearing), of the Northern August Realm of the Lotus.
and small pavilions housing the 5 Dhyani-Buddhas, the incarnation of 5 wisdoms of the Mahavairochana. Again from the site:
“The five wisdom merits are the Dharmahdatu-prakriti-jnana or the ability to show the Truth, Adarshana-jnana or the ability to see the original nature of all living beings, Samata-jnana or the way to adopt an indifferent attitude, Pratyaveksana-jnana or the ability to see the special character of all living beings, and Krityanushthana-jnana or ability of all complete meritorious.”
The small garden with orchid plants named after the eminent sanha.
Buddhist Prayer Wheel
According to the site, it is a revocable book shelf for the sutras, with central shaft to rotate the revolving scriptures, and it’s dub ‘Revolving Pitaka’. The hall also housed Ten Thousand Buddhas Pagoda.
Met a Photographer, two tourists, and three monks.
The Sri Mariamman Temple at 244 South Bridge Road. The Temple is known by the woshipers as Sithi Vinayagar and Gothanda Ramaswamy Mariamman Temple. Before, it is used as a refugee place and a place of worship for immigrants and officiated Indian marriage.
Since the temple was so crowded, I decide to walk around Chinatown. The market is full of life, colours and lights. They sale all kinds of things here. From trinkets, fake, Chinese ornaments etc. And food.
Chinatown, to sum it all: traditions, food, people, colors, lotsa colors….and pork, of all kinds, even German sausages.
See the photo above for landscape photo of Chinatown
After dinner of Chinese Hainam Chicken rice, I went to have a Mango Sago & Pomelo, at Mei Heong Yuen Dessert , located at Temple st. After a whole day walking in humid heat and painful back and feet, it tastes is just purrfect.