Singapore is a magnificent modern city filled with things to do and places to see, but you might be surprised to find that this modern melting pot holds many wonderful mosques and temples too.
First of all, I should tell you that Singapore is an easy place to get around. Once you arrive, everyone there speaks English, it’s modern, it’s clean and the mass rail transit or MRT has 87 stations and nearly 90 miles of tracks. Add to that an efficient bus and taxi system and you should have no problem finding these 7 kickass sacred Singapore sites.
1) Abdul Gaffoor Mosque – this is an amazing South Indian style mosque built from 1891 to 1919. With it’s pointy minarets and onion dome- this mosque is breathtaking to behold. It’s located on Dunlop Street in the heart of Little India.
2) Hallaj Fatima Mosque is located on Beach Road and was completed in 1846. While not as impressive as many of the mosques I’ve seen, Hallaj Fatima Mosque has two oddities that drew me to it. First, it leans about 6 degrees off center and second, it has a bizarre minaret that looks more like a church steeple.
3) Sultan Mosque – heading to Muscat Street you find the Sultan Mosque which was finished in 1928. To me, this is a classical fairy tale Indian mosque which makes sense when you realize it was built in a distinctive Saracenic style with pointy minarets, extensive balustrades, and gilded features.
4) Godess of Mercy Temple – The Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho was built in 1884 and is dedicated to the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin. While Guanyin is the primary diety of the temple there are others and no shortage of joss sticks or unique Chinese temple style. This temple is famous for it’s fortune telling with wooden sticks. It also provides fortune telling in English.
5) Sri Mariammamn Temple is Singapores oldest Hindu temple. It is located at 244 South Bridge Road and you will recognize it, don’t worry, just look for the tall and colorful entrance tower (gopuram) filled with Hindu dieties. It dates back to 1827 but has been modified and enlarged several times since then. Sri Mariammamn is a South Indian mother-goddess. Once inside find the Lingnam and Yoni (penis and vagina) sculptures which are not as easy to spot as in some temples and parks I’ve visited.
6) Sri Veerama- Kaliaaman Temple is located inside Singapore’s Little India. It is dedicated to Kali, the wife of Shiva, also known as “She Who Destroys”. Kali is a tantric goddess and while she is revered as a mother goddess, she is also the goddess of death. Inside you can find plenty of sculptures and paintings of her ripping people and gods apart.
7) Thian Hock Keng Temple is a taoist temple dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of the sea. It was built in the 1830’s and is an amazing masterpiece of the classical Southern Chinese temple style. Within are an abundance of peacock, lion, roses, and buddhist swastika icons and sculptures. The curly dragons on the green tiled roof will mark this for you on Telok Ayer Street in Singapore.