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Singapore’s Sri Mariamman Temple consecrated post renovation

The sanctums, domes and ceiling frescoes were refurbished in the original colour and structure of Singapore’s Sri Mariamman Temple.

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After a year-long restoration, Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple in Chinatown— Sri Mariamman Temple — with close to 200 years of history, opened its doors to the public with its sixth consecration ceremony.

Braving the early morning rain, about 20,000 devotees thronged Sri Mariamman Temple to witness the ceremony, also known as Maha Kumbabishegam, which occurs every 12 years.

Amid reverberation of religious chants, Hindu priests climbed the Raja Gopuram, or grand entrance tower of the temple, and the six vimanams, or temple towers, to perform the sanctification rituals, The Straits Times reported.

“This is part of living in multicultural Singapore, where the whole community comes together to celebrate each other’s cultural and religious milestones,” Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said in a Facebook post.

Singapore's Sri Mariamman Temple
Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong attends the consecration ceremony (Source: Lawrence Wong/Facebook)

Wong attended the ceremony along with Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo, Transport Minister S. Iswaran and Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai.

The restoration at the cost of SG$3.5 million involved 12 specialist sculptors and seven metal and wood artisans from India.

They worked on the sanctums, domes and ceiling frescoes, retaining the temple’s original colour and structure.

“The consecration is just as big an affair as it was in my childhood. There is the same intense piousness, and yet much less hassle,” Sumathi Nadesan, an Indian-origin devotee in Singapore, told The Straits Times.

The ceremony will be followed by Mandalabishegam — 48 days of religious rituals and cultural programmes.

Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. Built in 1827, Mariamman Kovil or Kling Street Temple as it was popularly known then was constructed for worship by immigrants from the Nagapatnam and Cuddalore districts of South India.

The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman, known for her power in curing epidemic illnesses and diseases. The main festival celebrated at Sri Mariaman temple is Theemithi (Fire walking ceremony) held annually in October-November.

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