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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 15. 

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This year, Vesak Day is all the more special because religious places of worship are finally able to welcome bigger groups of people. This means that Buddhists will be able to once again go to the temples and carry out their Vesak Day rituals.

This is incredibly important because tradition and the deep cultural roots Buddhism has in Singapore are extremely significant and should be recognised as such.

One of the ways we can honour the legacy and heritage that Buddhists have enlivened our culture with is 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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1. Burmese Buddhist Temple

Burmese Buddhist Temple, which is also known as Maha Sasani Ramsi, is one of the most popular Buddhist temples in Singapore and it’s easy to see why.

Located near Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, the temple is the sole Burmese Buddhist Temple in Singapore and was built in 1875.

Upon entering the temple grounds, devotees will be greeted by two lion-like figures as well as a huge, pure white marble statue of Buddha which is extremely impressive to behold and very Instagrammable.

2. Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple

Located along Race Course Road, Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple is well known because it houses a 300-ton statue of Buddha as well as an ebony and mother-of-pearl replica of Buddha’s footprint and a piece of bark from the original Bodhi tree under which Buddha sat.

The temple’s design also reflects an interesting mix of Chinese, Thai and Indian influences which works hand in hand to create one of the most gorgeous temples in Singapore.

3. 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.

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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4. 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.

5. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Located right in the heart of Chinatown, the iconic Buddha Tooth Relic temple 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. 

What makes this temple special is the Buddhist culture museum 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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6. 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.  

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7. 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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