12 Famous Buddhist Temples In Singapore
Singapore is a country at the crossroad between East and West. About 33% of the ethnic Chinese population embraces Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism is the most popular tradition of Buddhism in Singapore, followed by Theravada Buddhism. Vesak Day, also known as Buddha Purnima, is a public holiday and an important Buddhist festival celebrated in Singapore.
The following is the list of 12 famous Buddhist temples in Singapore:
#1 – Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is one of the most beautiful Buddhist Temples in Singapore. It is on most tourist “must visit” list of attractions in Singapore. Non-Buddhist too will appreciate the beauty and serenity of this amazing temple. The architecture of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is based on the Chinese Tang dynasty style, making it a key attraction in Singapore’s Chinatown. As the name suggest, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple has tooth relics of the Buddha, which are housed on the fourth floor of the temple. The wonderful main Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is on the ground floor. There are thousands of artwork (paintings, statues, tapestry, etc) related to Lord Buddha and Buddhism. The Buddhist museum is on the third floor. In addition to the temple and museum, there is also a rooftop garden, a library, a vegetarian restaurant in the basement and a bookstore. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is dedicated to the Maitreya Buddha (Compassionate One, also known as The Future Buddha). The temple management request visitors to dress modestly and provides shawls and coveralls to visitors.
#2 – Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery
Spread over 75,470 sq metres (equal to 10.7 footbal fields), Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery is the largest Buddhist Temple complex in Singapore. Phor Kark See Monastery has one of the largest bronze Buddha statues in Asia, weighing 55 tons and rising to a height of 13.8 meters. The Bodhi tree in the temple can trace its origin to the original Bodhi Tree in Gaya, India, where Gautum Buddha attained enlightenment. The architectural style of the Monastery is inspired by Southern Chinese design. The Monastery complex consists of a large Dharma Hall, Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas, multiple prayer halls, meditation halls, dining hall, crematorium (with columbarium), a Buddhist college offering a 4 year degree in Buddhism and residence for local and visiting Buddhist monks.
#3 – Burmese Buddhist Temple
Burmese Buddhist Temple is home to an 11 feet white marble Buddha statue, which weigh 10 tons. This statue was made in Mandalay (Burma) in 1918 and is the largest pure white marble statue of Buddha outside of Myanmar (Burma). First started in 1875, Burmese Buddhist Temple is the oldest Theravada Buddhist Temple in Singapore. The current Burmese Buddhist Temple at Tai Gin Road was opened in 1991 and its architecture is based on traditional Burmese Buddhist temple design. There is a Bodhi tree in the compound of the Burmese Buddhist Temple, which can trace its origin to the original Bodhi tree under which the Buddha attained Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya in India.
#4 – Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
The famous Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple is based on Chinese Temple architecture. The entrance and walls of the temple are colorful. One reason for the popularity of Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple is that Singaporeans consider it good luck to pray to Kuan Yin (Guanyin). Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple receives large crowds of devotees during Chinese New Year. The temple is kept open throughout the night on the eve of Chinese New Year. Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple has been at Waterloo Street since 1884. It has undergone reconstruction in 1895 and 1982. Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
#5 – Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple
Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple is a Thai Theravada Buddhist Temple that opened in 1925. In 2014, the old building housing the monk quarters was replaced with an impressive modern designed structure that looks different from a traditional Temple. Designed by Czarl Architects, the idea behind the modern structure is to keep Buddhism up to date and relevant for the current generation. The new building houses new monks’ quarters, Dhamma Classroom, Meditation Halls, museum, Dining Hall, rest area and open are for community events. The new Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple building was nominated for the 2014 World Architecture Festival Awards. The old Temple with its Stupa and Golden roof are also there in the complex.
#6 – Siong Lim Temple
Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery is also known as Siong Lim Temple and Shuang Lin Temple. Built in 1902 by the efforts of a Chinese Hokkien merchant, the temple was modeled on the Xi Chang Shi temple in Fuzhou, in China’s Fujian province and has strong influences of South China. Siong Lim Temple has a beautiful seven storey pagoda. Other key attractions of Siong Lim Temple/Monastery are the three prayer halls, Mahavira Hall being the most impressive, Guan Yan Dian, traditional Chinese courtyard, Bonsai trees in the courtyard, rock garden, carvings on the walls and ceilings and impressive gates at the temple’s entrance. Major renovations were completed in 2002, for which artisans and labour was brought in from China. Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery is the oldest Monastery in Singapore.
#7 – Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery
The beautiful Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery building is designed on traditional Tang dynasty temple style. Inside Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery the centerpiece is a stunning 9.9 m tall statue of Guanyin (Quan Yin), the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. Foo Hai Ch’an has the 1000 hands version of Guanyin. There is also a 3.3 m statue of Buddha. The original Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery opened in 1935. It was rebuilt in 1961 and 2004. Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery has founded the Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre at Novena.
#8 – Poh Ern Shih Temple
Poh Ern Shih Temple is a Chinese Mahayana temples dedicated to the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. In 2003, the old Poh Ern Shih Temple was demolished and reconstructed. The architectural design of the 6 storey Poh Ern Shih Temple is of a traditional Chinese temple. The new Poh Ern Shih Temple is an eco-friendly temple; it makes use of Solar, hydro and wind energy for its energy needs. Poh Ern Shih Temple was built in 1954 to liberate the spirit of those who died during the WWII Battle of Pasir Panjang. The Buddhist Foundation has rented space at the temple to conduct meditation courses, Dharma discussions, etc.
#9 – Hai Inn Temple
Hai Inn Temple has a big bell that is 2.75 m tall, 1.7 m wide and which weighs 7.4 ton; it is one of the biggest temple bells in Singapore. Hai Inn Temple conducts meditation on Buddhist class. The original Hai Inn Temple was built in 1928 and was only for female devotees. In late 1990s, repair and reconstruction work of the Ample, Incense and Abstinence Halls was undertaken. A new 3 storied building containing the Ancestor Hall on the first floor, Universal Hall on the second floor and Enlightenment Hall on the third floor. A new 4 storied building has also been erected in the temple complex.
#10 – Temple of 1,000 Lights (Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple)
Located in Singapore’s Little India, Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple is also called Temple of Thousand Lights. The design of Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple is influenced by Thai Temple architecture. The centerpiece of the temple is a large, 15 feet seated Buddha. This Buddha statue is surrounded by many light bulbs; hence the name “Temple of 1,000 Lights”. Another key attraction at the temple is the statue of the sleeping Buddha in a room beneath the main temple hall. Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple is a popular Temple which receives many visitors.
#11 – Palelai Buddhist Temple (Wat Palelai Singapore)
Palelai Buddhist Temple or Wat Palelai Singapore is a charming Buddhist Temple, whose design is inspired by Temple architecture of Thailand. The main prayer hall is the Palelai Buddha Hall which has a large statue of Buddha sitting in the Parileyyaka Forest, and 2 large Thai style hand carved murals depicting the life of Buddha and his teachings. Palelai Buddhist Temple has a Thai style golden “Chedi” (“Stupa” or Tower). In 1973 Palelai Buddhist Temple opened at its new address, 49 Bedok Walk. This move was necessitated to accommodate more devotees. The new temple was constructed with the financial support of Thai, Singaporean and Malaysian Buddhists.
#12 – Thian Hock Keng Temple
Originally completed in 1842, Thian Hock Keng is one of the oldest Hokkien temple in Singapore. Thian Hock Keng Temple is built in Southern Chinese temple architecture style. No nails are used in the construction of the temple. Thian Hock Keng Temple is for followers of Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. The main Thian Hock Keng Temple is dedicated to Ma Zu, the Taoist Goddess of the Sea. There is a Buddhist Temple at the back, which is dedicated to Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. Deities at the Thian Hock Keng Temple include Ma Zu (Goddess of the Sea), Bao Sheng Da Di, Guan Sheng Di Jun (Heavenly Sage), Guan Shi Yin Pu Sa (Goddess of Mercy), Yue Gong Niang Niang (The Moon Goddess), Tai Yang Gong (The Sun God), etc. After its renovation in 2000, Thian Hock Keng Temple was awarded UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage 2001 Award for Culture Heritage Conservation Building.
Source: Fun in Singapore