A third of Singapore’s population is Buddhist, and so it is no surprise that there are so many beautiful Buddhist temples here. A visit to one of these temples is not only to admire the architectural beauty, it is also an excellent way to learn about the religion, culture and background of the devotees who worship there. Here we highlight some of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in Singapore that are worth a visit. Please remember to dress considerately when entering the temples – no shorts, short skirts or sleeveless tops.
Thian Hock Keng Temple
Singapore’s oldest Chinese temple is also its most beautiful. Erected in 1821, nearly all of the materials used to construct the temple came from China, and some even from the boats the immigrants arrived on. Take your time to wander through the courtyards and admire the rooftop dragons, ceiling mosaics, gold-leafed details and the intricately painted doors.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
This staggering building in the heart of Chinatown not only houses one of the most revered relics in the Buddhist world, but also has an excellent museum on the third floor where you can learn all about Lord Buddha, and feast your eyes on some of the world’s most beautiful Buddhist artefacts. The rooftop safeguards the Ten Thousand Buddhas Pavilion with its large Vairocana Buddha Prayer Wheel.
Kuan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
One of the most popular temples in Singapore, it attracts an estimated 1,000 devotees every day. The temple is dedicated to the Kuan Yin (also called Guanyin), the goddess of mercy and is seen by devotees as a saviour, hence her popularity. Keep a look out for devotees kneeling before the deities seeking divine intervention in the important decisions in their lives with the help of “Qian” or fortune sticks.
Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple
This Buddhist temple in Little India is more popularly known as the ‘Temple of 1,000 Lights’ and is best known for its 15 metre high, 300 tonne seated Buddha which towers above you as you enter. At the base of this towering statue is a diorama depicting important events in Buddha’s life. Make your way round the back of the statue to find a chamber housing a reclining Buddha.
Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery
This is the largest monastery in Singapore, and consists of a sprawling complex of eleven temples and meditation halls. Intricate architectural designs, elaborate Chinese decorations, statues of Buddha and Bodhisattva and shrines are set amongst tranquil gardens.