Burmese Buddhist Temple Singapore

Weather :

Timings : 6:30 AMĀ - 9:00 PM

Time Required : Less than 1 hour

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple, Singapore Overview

Burmese Buddhist Temple is one of the most popular among the myriad of Buddhist temples in Singapore, located near the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. This place of worship is the oldest Theravada institution and the sole Burmese Buddhist Temple with traditional Burmese architecture in Singapore. The colossal temple is guarded by two lion-like figures, known as chinthes, along with a huge, pure white marble statue of Buddha, which is a sight to behold.

Also referred to as the Maha Sasana Ramsi, this marvellous structure is multi-storeyed with shimmering interiors and paintings depicting events from the life of Buddha. Various events are conducted at Burmese Buddhist Temple in Singapore throughout the year, including structured public programmes such as Dhamma classes and other religious festivities. The temple was previously located in Little India and was relocated to its current location in 1991. It is the uniqueness and dignity of the Burmese Buddhist Temple that has led to its recognition not only as a religious landmark but also as a national heritage site of Singapore. 

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Architecture of Burmese Buddhist Temple

The resplendent Maha Sasana Ramsi is the sole Burmese Buddhist Temple outside Myanmar constructed in the conventional Burmese style. The external façade of this structure is adorned with gold. Intricate teak wood carvings donated by the Tripitaka Nikaya Main Ministrative Body add to the charm of this shrine. These decorations are extended to the temple hall, and stunning artwork surrounds the main altar.

The most noteworthy feature of Burmese Buddhist Temple in Singapore is the pure white marble statue of Buddha, with a halo of LED lights around the head. Enhancing the aura of the temple with its mere presence, this statue is 3 meters high and is the largest pure white marble Buddha statue outside Myanmar.

A colourful, painted wall in the Upper Hall on the third floor of the ornate temple will immediately draw your attention. This painting depicts the immensely difficult journey that U Kyaw Gaung had to undertake while bringing the Buddha statue from Mandalay to Singapore. This floor also houses the rarely seen Buddha statue dressed in Burmese style.

Burmese Buddhist Temple Singapore
The white marble statue of Buddha sitting in the main shrine hall

Bodhi Tree

While the inside of Burmese Buddhist Temple remains shrouded in a golden hue, the exterior has prominent religious elements too, filling the air with purity and spirituality. One of the striking features of the temple is the Bodhi tree located in its compound.

This holy tree was grown from a seed that was taken from its parent tree at the Mangala Vihara Buddhist Temple at 30 Jalan Eunos, Singapore. Bodhi Tree has high spiritual value according to Buddhism because it was this tree under which Shakyamuni Buddha meditated for a long time until he attained enlightenment. The tree under which Buddha meditated was the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India. It was taken care of by Madam Boey, a devotee of Mangala Vihara. A descendant sapling of the Bodhi Tree under which Buddha meditated was brought to Singapore from Sri Lanka and it grew into a tree, whose seed was taken and planted to grow the Bodhi tree that today exists in the temple premises.

Historical Significance

The beautiful Burmese Buddhist Temple was founded in 1875 by U Thar Hnin, a Burmese gentleman. In 1907, U Kyaw Gaung became the first trustee of the temple, and he did everything he was capable of to make the temple what it is today. During administration, he dreamt of installing a large Buddha statue, similar to the ones found in Myanmar. He was entirely responsible for raising the funds for this project. High-quality marble weighing over ten tonnes was acquired from Sagyin Hill in Myanmar and taken to Mandalay, well-known for its extraordinary skill in craftsmanship. The large Buddha image was sculpted out of it, reaching completion in 1918. With assistance from the late Aw Boon Par of Tiger Balm fame, U Kyaw Gaung succeeded in transporting the statue to Singapore in 1921.

The sizable statue was initially housed in a shed called the "Buddha Wehara", after which it was moved to a private chamber in Kinta Road. In 1935, following the death of U Kyaw Gaung, the temple was partially transformed into a private residence.

In 1981, the residents of the temple received a notice from the Urban Redevelopment Authority to vacate the premise, following which the modest temple was relocated on Tai Gin Road. In 1991, the Burmese Buddhist Temple was officially reopened due to the continuous efforts of the temple's spiritual advisor and the residential monks.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit this temple is during the festivals. The majestic temple has celebrations all year round. However, the Chinese New Year, falling in February, is celebrated with great pomp and pomposity. On the first day of every year, 'Soon Gyi Long', signifying Grand Offering is organized. The devotees offer food and other requisites to all the monks who take part in the chanting ceremony held on this day.

Another important festival held here is the 'Thin Gyan' or Water Festival which falls on the second week of April each year. The devotees bath the Buddha images with scented water. Apart from these, Myanmar New year Day, Vesak Day, and Kathina celebrations are some of the noteworthy festivals held here.

How to Reach Burmese Buddhist Temple in Singapore

Bus: Board the bus numbers 139 or 145 at the Toa Payoh Bus Interchange and alight at the third stop, which is in front of the Ramada Hotel. From this point, it is a walking distance to the temple, for which there are plenty of guiding signboards. 

Car: One can bring their own car or use a taxi-hailing application to reach the temple. However, for those travelling during festivals, it must be noted that there is no car parking facility available during those times. Alternatively, one can park their cars at the following parking spots:
  • HDB Block 103 etc - Free parking on Sundays and public holidays
  • Ramada Hotel at Zhogshan Park - Hourly parking daily
  • Days Hotel at Zhogshan Park - Hourly parking daily
  • Home Team NS-JOM - Hourly parking daily

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