Timings : 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM daily Stupa Chamber and Museum: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Time Required : 1 - 2 hours
Entry Fee : No Entry Fee
Planning a Trip? Ask Your Question
Also Refered As:
Located in the historic Chinatown district of Singapore, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is famed worldwide for storing what is supposedly the left canine tooth of Lord Buddha, recovered from his funeral pyre in Kushinagar, India. This relic is housed in a massive 320 kg, solid gold stupa, sitting dazzlingly on a 4th-floor room.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Singapore Overview
Located in the historic Chinatown district of Singapore, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is a Chinese Buddhist Temple. The five-storey temple is famed worldwide for storing what is supposedly the left canine tooth of Lord Buddha, recovered from his funeral pyre in Kushinagar, India.
This relic is housed in a massive 320 kg, solid gold stupa, sitting dazzlingly on a 4th-floor room. The chief draw of Buddha Tooth Relic Temple lies in its design and architecture, which has been extensively-researched to replicate the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty and the Buddhist Mandala.
The Buddhist Cultural Museum located on the third floor of this stunning edifice houses sacred artefacts of Lord Buddha while the beautiful rooftop garden centres the world’s biggest Buddhist prayer wheel, topped off by an elegant pagoda. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is also home to the Eminent Sangha Museum which is essentially a theatre holding religious talks, cultural performances and relevant screenings. To gain a better understanding of Buddhist culture and properly exploring this exquisite temple, opt for the free guided tours. This majestic place of worship, which is touted as one of the most photogenic attractions in the world, is a must-visit in Singapore.
Read More on Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Buddhist Cultural Museum
This museum housed at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was built with a vision to promote and preserve the Buddhist culture and cultivate awareness about the various relics, researches and artefacts pertaining to Asian Buddhism. It houses some of the very sought after Buddhist artefacts collected from China, Korea, Tibet, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia. The museum tells the story of each and every artefact and not just the profound meaning of his teachings. The latest artefacts include Meditating Buddha Shakyamuni, Pensive Prince Siddhartha, Buddha performing the twin miracles at Sravasti and Stupa Reliquary.
Relic Chamber Commonly known as a Relic, 'Sarira' in Buddhist context refers to the spiritual energy left behind after the death of a sage and cremation of his body. The spiritual energy is basically the crystallization of the solid remains of Buddha Shakyamuni or eminent sangha after their cremation. In the Relic Chamber of the museum, one can find the sacred relics of Buddha, such as bone Relic, intestine Relic, blood Relic, brain Relic, tongue Relic. Devotees can venerate and pay respect to these relics of Buddha in this chamber to soak in the serenity and spiritual energy that they emanate, unaffected by nature's forces and elevated due to persevering religious practices. They epitomize wisdom, the fruit of spiritual labour, free of ousting, greed and wrath. Even in the accounts depicting the passing on of Buddha in Mahaparinirvana Sutra, it is mentioned by Buddha himself that seeing his relics is as good as seeing him in person. It is equivalent to learning the Dharma and achieving the knowledge of Nirvana.
History Gallery Another important section of the museum is the History Gallery, which surrounds the Aranya Gallery. History Gallery exhibits the origin, the building process and the conceptualization of the design of the temple. There are vivid images and design prototypes which help visitors understand how the designing of the temple was done and how the temple came into being the majestic building that it is today.
Architecture of Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
The temple is divided into storeys, with each storey projecting a different theme.
First Storey: The most important aspect about the First Storey is the colossal prayer hall surrounded by hundreds of Golden Buddhas.
Second Storey: This houses the Aranya Reference library, BTRTM history gallery and the Aranya Buddhist Culture shop. Here, one can learn about the history of the temple predominantly.
Third Storey: This storey is full of Buddhist artefacts to go around and see. There is an array of relics and objects, basically aimed at creating awareness about Buddhism. Sacred Relics Chamber is the main attraction of this floor, and here one can see the holy relics of other parts of Buddha such as his nose, brain and eyes.
Fourth Storey: It houses the temple's centrepiece, Buddha's tooth, which is called the Sacred Light Hall and there is a space to pray or meditate on the sides. The tooth is a left canine, believed to belong to the actual Gautam Buddha. The origin of the tooth is said to be from his funeral pyre in Kushinagar, Northern India. It is enshrined in a giant stupa, weighing 3.5 tonnes and made from 320 kgs of gold. The hall is a beautiful piece of art and is a sight to behold. Only the monks have access to the actual Relic Chamber, and visitors cannot actually see the tooth. They can only catch a glimpse of the golden stupa and a live video of the tooth from behind a glass wall.
Roof Garden: On top of the fourth floor of Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is the roof garden, which is a serene place to spend some relaxing time, away from the crowded halls. The garden is filled with beautiful orchids. Take a look at the gorgeous Ten Thousand Buddhas Pagoda, spin the large Buddha prayer wheel or just take a seat and relax while surrounded by zen greenery. As visitors walk in circles, reciting prayers and spinning the wheel, they trigger the wheel to ring a bell, which is believed to help them accumulate wisdom, merit and purify bad karma.
Basement: There is a basement where one can go during the meal hours to enjoy a free and simple vegetarian meal, donate some money, take part in a one-day retreat or take up tours and meditation classes for more extended stays. It is believed that one must consume this meal for his completion of the karma of Buddha.
Buddha Statue: There is a 15 foot Buddha Statue at the temple's main entrance, carved from a single wooden log, handcrafted by grounding natural stones and vegetable dyes. Monks offer prayers and chant sutras in this chamber. Devotees can learn about the daily prayer schedule from here.
Mezzanine: Between the first and second storey is a Mezzanine, which appears like a balcony overlooking the first floor. It is not a popular spot, but one can go there to catch a breathtaking view of the 15-foot statue of Buddha in the main chamber below.
Free guided tours of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is conducted on Saturdays in Mandarin at 10:00 AM and English at 2:00 PM. The BTRTM encourages visitors to register for their guided tours which provide visitors an opportunity to learn and get an insight into the Buddhist culture, the heritage of Singapore, Chinese culture, the history of Chinatown and Buddhist philosophy. The guided tours are performed and conducted by specially trained guides. There are blessings and prayer sessions as well for visitors as well as free of cost vegetarian meal at the basement and desserts at their Five Insights Hall along with refreshments.
For the reverence of Buddha's tooth, which was discovered by the Venerable Cakkapala during the restoration process of a collapsed stupa in Myanmar in 1980, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was constructed. Initially, the tooth was enshrined in the Bandula Monastery by the assistants of Venerable Cakkapala. It was after two decades in 2002 that the tooth was brought to Singapore by Venerable Cakkapala during a fundraising campaign.
The relic was exhibited in the tenth anniversary of Golden Pagoda Temple, and over 300,000 people witnessed it, over only a few days. This lead to the donation of tooth relic by Venerable Cakkapala to Venerable Shi Fa Zhao, when he also proposed the construction of a monastery worthy of this relic to be built. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple went through over 9 proposals of designs before it was finalised. Contemporary and Southern Chinese typology designs were rejected. The final design represented the Northern Chinese Style with arts from the Tang Dynasty. The construction of the temple then began in January 2005 and was completed in two years. It was finally opened on May 2007.
How to Reach Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is located on South Bridge Road in the bustling Chinatown district of Singapore. Those choosing to arrive through public transport can take a bus to the Maxwell Road FC bus stop, a short walk away from the temple, or opt for travelling by the MRT to either the Chinatown or Telok Ayer station, both within a kilometre’s radius of the charming temple.
As this is a sacred place, it is important to dress up in respectful attire. Avoid off shoulder, bare-backs shorts, short skirts, and tank tops.
Non-flash photography is permitted in the Buddhist Culture museum and the Eminent Sangha museum.
While there in admission charge or fee for the guided tour, donations help with the upkeep of this sacred landmark and are greatly appreciated by the monks.
Photography or videography of any kind is not permitted in the Sacred Relic chamber.