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This Vesak Day, take some time to appreciate the culture and heritage of some of these iconic Buddhist buildings

Vesak Day is almost here and Buddhists around the world are getting ready to celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha on May 26. 

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While many religious services and events have been cancelled or moved online as a result of Singapore going into Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), there are still many rituals that Buddhists may want to continue practising this year no matter if it is at home or safely at temples that are still open. 

No matter how you are celebrating Vesak Day this year, it is still important to honour the traditions and the deep cultural roots Buddhism has in Singapore and we can do that by admiring and honouring some of the temples we have around the country. Read on to find out where some of the most gorgeous Buddhist temples are in Singapore.

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Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery

Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery is the largest Buddhist temple in Singapore. The building was founded in 1912 and became the first monastery in Singapore to hold the three-step-one-bow ceremony which includes chanting and the bathing of the baby prince Siddhartha back in 1984.

The monastery features sprawling green lawns, unique artefacts such as the Bodhi tree and a massive bronze statue of Buddha. In fact, the statue of Buddha here is one of the largest in Asia.

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Thian Hock Keng

Thian Hock Keng was first constructed in 1840. Since then, it has continued to preserve its rich culture and traditions such as the performances by Nanyin, Getai and traditional Hokkien puppet shows. 

The temple firmly believes in staying relevant while not compromising its roots and regularly holds free guided tours to introduce the public to the heritage of the building as well as the customs and faith. 

Although the temple's primary deity is Mazu, a Chinese sea goddess, a shrine dedicated to the Buddhist bodhisattva of mercy, Guanyin, is located at the back of the temple as well.

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Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Located right in the heart of Chinatown, the Buddha Tooth Relic temple is certainly one that is hard to miss. The temple was built in 2007 and has an intricately designed interior and exhibits that are meant to relay historical stories of the Buddhist culture and religion. 

In fact, what makes this temple special is the Buddhist culture museum which is located on the third floor. The museum is home to many sacred artefacts of Buddha such as bone and tongue relics which many believers and non-believers enjoy touring and discovering. 

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Wat Ananda Metyaram Thai Buddhist Temple

Wat Ananda Metyaram Thai Buddhist Temple is the oldest Theravada Buddhist tradition temple in Singapore and was opened in 1925. 

The building has gone through numerous renovations and upgrades since but the most significant one happened in 2014 when a new and more modern temple building was officially opened.

The new building features a Dhamma hall, mediation hall, cultural centre and more. The temple also features lovely white walls and a modern design which is a far cry from what it used to be in the past. 

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Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery

Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery is located in Toa Payoh and is one of Singapore's oldest Buddhist temples. What makes it so special is the traditional architecture which features a rare example of a cong lin monastery in the Asian region. It is believed that a cong lin monastery layout helps to cultivate monastic discipline. 

The monastery was also modelled after the Xi Chan Monastery in Fuzhou, China which adds to its splendour.

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