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Top Religious Sites to Visit in Singapore
Multi-religious Singapore has a large number of temples, churches, mosques of striking beauty and these are some of the best assets of the country.
I was amazed at the sight of some of the most beautiful religious places I've ever seen. All of them in excellent condition!
Any trip to Singapore should include a tour of the local temples, mosques and other religious sites.
Hindu temples, mosques, Sikh temples, but even Christian churches are found scattered here and there in the central-south old historic parts of the island. I visited many and here I'll try to present you the most important ones that are worth visiting.
Of course, let's note at the beginning: don't enter mosques unless you are a Muslim.
Believe me, these religious sites are very beautiful from the outside, perhaps entering them isn't that important after all.
Show respect to other cultures and religious - it would be great to do a little ethics-related reading before visiting any religious site.
Most of the beautiful religious attractions in Singapore are found in the following areas/parts: Arab Street, Kampong/Bras Basah, Chinatown, Little India, City Hall and Chijmes areas.
My list includes 21 places of worship and religion, listed below... During my first visit I didn't have the chance to photograph all of them, but more photos can be viewed under my returning trip journal.
#1 Masjid Jamae (Chulia Mosque, Maideen Mosque, Big Mosque)
It's located in the Singaporean Chinatown and it's totally unique - at least to me it looked very different from any other mosque that I have seen.
It dates back to 1826 and it was built by the Singaporean Tamil community.
You can come across it at South Bridge Road in Chinatown.
Beautiful even during the night in Chinatown
#2 Masjid Sultan (Sultan Mosque)
It's a beautiful mosque in the Arab Street area, in the historic district of the Singaporean Muslims.
Many of the Muslims who lived in the Kampong area originated from the Riau Islands, Malacca, Sumatra.
The Masjid Sultan was constructed at the order of Sultan Hussain (Hussein Shah of Johor), the Sultan of Johor and Singapore.
I have no photo of it, because I left it for my second Singapore visit along with several other places presented on this page.
#3 Malabar Muslim Jama-Ath (Masjid Malabar)
A beautiful blue-coloured mosque found in the Arab Street area, at the junction between Victoria Street and Jalan Sultan.
The name of "Malabar Muslim Jama-Ath" is actually in Malaysian language (not Arabic).
It was built in 1962 as the mosque of the Malabar Muslims, who arrived to "Lion City" (Singapore) from the state of Kerala in India.
I have no photo of it, because I left it for my second Singapore visit.
# 4 Anguilla Mosque
Or Masjid Anguilla is found in Little India, it's a rather small yellow mosque.
It is a modern building, but it you're in the area, it's worth taking at least a few photos of it. You will find it on Serangoon Road.
The modern Anguilla Mosque
#5 Masjid Abdul Gaffoor
Probably the most ornamented mosque in Singapore. Perhaps the most beautiful one (?).
I missed it during my exploration of Little India. So sorry, but next time I will find it and will display photos of it as well!
So, the Abdul Gaffoor Mosque is rather old, its history dates back to 1859 and it was raised by an Indian lawyer's clerk called Shaik Abdul Gafoor Hyder.
The building was intended as a place of worship for the Indian Muslims.
Architecturally it's a mix. These styles blend together to form it: Arabian, Roman, South Indian.
#6 The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
Along with several other temples, this one too is found in the beautiful and immense Chinatown.
While at first, one might mistakenly believe it's an ancient temple, it's just the style that's a reproduction of ancient Chinese architecture (Tang Dynasty architectural style). In fact, it cost 62 million SGD to build it. And, it was finalized in 2007.
That's quite modern, indeed... but looks and feels old.
What's special about this building is that it holds a tooth relic that's believed to have been Buddha's.
Too bad that every time I was in the area it was closed.
Beautiful old-style, but new pagoda in Chinatown
#7 Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
The Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple is a Chinese temple found in Kampong, right near the Sri Krishnan Hindu Temple.
It is dedicated to Kwan Im (Guanyin), the Goddess of Mercy.
When I was there, I found large crowds of worshippers and I stayed for a while to admire the granite tiles and decorations of of the walls, the entrance gate etc.
Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
#8 Leong San See Temple
A Taoist temple also built to honour Kwan Im (Guanyin).
It has a very beautifully decorated pagoda roof. It's a rather small temple. I wouldn't personally put it into the very top of religious sites, but if you are in the area, don't miss it.
You will find this at Race Course Road, which is in the Little India area.
#9 Siong Lim Temple and Monastery
It's rather a monastery. Situated in the Toa Payoh area on the Kallang River bank.
Siong Lim or Shuang Lin is the Hokkien name of the place, which in Mandarin is Lian Shan, meaning: Twin Grove of the Lotus Mountain Temple.
The monastery is a beautiful large complex covering over 40,000 sqm and it was built in 1902.
#10 The Temple of 1,000 Lights (Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple)
Buddhist temple built in 1927, holding an immense 15 m high Buddha statue in its interior, which weighs 300 tonnes.
It is open between 8:00 AM and 4:45 PM, admission is free and anyone can enter.
Find it on Race Course Road, which is parallel to Serangoon Road.
#11 Bright Hill Temple (Khong Meng San Phor Kark See Temple)
It's the largest temple in Singapore.
It's located in Bishan, 88 Bright Hill Road to be exact.
Chinese temple and monastery, constructed in 1920. It used to provide accommodation to the Buddhist monks who arrived to Singapore at the beginning of the 20th century.
You might want to check its official website for detailed information.
I didn't have the chance to visit it, unfortunately. Even these 20 places of religion and worship require a tremendous effort to visit.
#12 Thian Hock Keng Temple
The Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest Fukkien or Hokkien temple in Singapore.
It's among one of the oldest buildings with monumental importance in the country. It was built in 1839.
It is a Taoist temple dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of the sea, protector of sailor, navigators.
Check out the temple's website for photos and information.
#13 Central Sikh Temple
Roughly 15,000 Sikhs live in Singapore and this is their main temple.
It houses a holy book called Granth Sahih.
It looks more modern than it actually is. The construction date is 1912, but its has been modified since then.
A large part of the Sikhs in Singapore started arriving in 1881 to form a contingent for the Singaporean police force, under British command.
#14 Saint Andrew's Cathedral
You can't miss this one if you wander around in the City Hall area.
It's a large Anglican church, the 1938 reconstruction of a previous one, which was sadly destroyed by lightning strikes (which had been constructed in 1852).
Find the Saint Andrew's Cathedral at 11 Saint Andrew's Road. The City Hall MRT station is nearby - for easy access.
Saint Andrew's Cathedral
#15 Chijmes Hall and Chijmes Complex
The Chijmes is a historic building complex, which includes the Catholic Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, located on Victoria Street.
Pronounciation: simply "chimes".
The Church building is called Chijmes Hall and it was built in 1904.
The complex includes a large number of restaurants and shops. Several ethnic cuisines are well-represented there. This place was rather strange to me: originally a religious complex, today it feels rather like a restaurant complex. Definitely a good place for going out.
#16 Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator
It's an Armenian church and also Singapore's oldest Christian church, built in 1935 by the local Armenian community.
It is dedicated to the first monk of the Armenian church, Saint Gregory the Illuminator.
The small church can be found at 60 Hill Street.
#17 Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
This one too also found along Serangoon Road, in the Little India area.
By the way, I consider Serangoon Road one of the best places for religious site hunting. Another one is South Bridge Road in Chinatown.
The Sri Srinavasa Perumal Temple was erected in the 1850s by the Hindu community.
Its gopuram (entrance gate) is 20 m tall and rich in colourful statues - truly impressive creation.
#18 Sri Krishnan Temple
The Sri Krishnan Temple is in Kampong Glam, where you can easily reach by MRT, if you get off at the Bras Basah station.
It's on Waterloo Street, very easy to find, clearly visible.
The Sri Krishnan Temple is the only South Indian Hindu temple in Singapore dedicated exclusively to Sri Krishna and his consort Rukmini.
It was established in 1870. Back then, a large Hindu community had established already in the Bras Basah area.
Hanuman statue at the entrance
#19 Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
This one of Little India's prominent architectural beauties.
Dravidian style, built in 1881, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali, it is one of the "not to miss" attractions of Little India on Serangoon Road.
Don't forget to visit this temple when you're in Little India
#20 Sri Mariamman Temple
The gopuram of the Sri Mariamman Temple
This one is found in Chinatown on South Bridge Road, not far from the Jamae Mosque.
It was built in Dravidian style in 1827 by the leader of the Singaporean community back then (Naraina Pillai), who had first visited Singapore in 1819 together with Sir Stamford Raffles (founder of Singapore) on the latter's second trip.
The Sri Mariamman Temple has suffered a major modification in 1862, which resulted in what we can see today.
It was declared as a National Monument in 1973 and it's one of Singapore's most beautiful historic buildings.
#21 Sri Thendayuthapani Temple
Found on 15 Tank Road, it's also among the old historic temples - having been built in 1859 by the local Hindu community.
It has an impressive large colourful gopuram and it is dedicated to Lord Murugan (as many Hindu temples).
The architectural style of the temple is Dravidian - as we've gotten used to in Singapore.
I hope list of 21 religious attractions in Singapore were of use to you.
Even if your stay would last 2 weeks, almost certainly it wouldn't suffice to visit all these places.
There are so many other places of interest to visit in Singapore, I wouldn't personally focus on religious sites.
I'd personally put the following 10 into the very best category: Masjid Sultan, Masjid Jamae, Masjid Abdul Gaffoor, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, The Temple of 1,000 Lights, Saint Andrew's Cathedral, Chijmes Complex, Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple.
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With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...
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