Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple

Weather :

Ideal time : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

Timings : 6:00 AM - 6:30 PM

Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, Singapore Overview

Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple is one of Singapore's major Buddhist temples, located at the Waterloo Street. Dedicated to Kuan Yin or Avalokitesvara, the Goddess of Mercy, devotees believe that they are blessed after worshipping at this temple, which makes it important to the Chinese community living in Singapore. Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple is also very popular for its divination predictions, which are claimed to be highly accurate.

This popular temple sees a throng of devotees on the first and fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year, staying open throughout the night on the eve of the Chinese New Year. The street in the front of Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple is filled with devotees, all eager to enter the temple hall and offer their incense to Kuan Yin, in an attempt to give their year an auspicious start. Joss sticks and flowers are among the most popular things offered to the Goddess by the pilgrims. After visiting the temple, devotees often collect sweets and flowers at the door, which are considered to be blessings.

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Divination Practice at Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple

Most visitors at Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple indulge in divination, which the temple is famous for. Visitors have to shake a tin of sticks, called the bamboo oracle, which will result in a stick coming out with a number attached. This number is then interpreted when presented at the counter. The interpretation is available in both Chinese and English and has to be burned before leaving the temple. However, before shaking the bamboo oracle, the visitor has to pray to Kuan Yin and ask for advice. Several devotees, hence, come here to know their fortune or to find a solution to their problems.

History and Architecture

The Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple was originally constructed in 1884. Chinese temple architecture and traditional Buddhist craftsmanship could be seen abundantly throughout the temple. Devotees had to enter it through a porch and a screened anteroom after crossing a large porch. The main hall had three altars; the one in the middle was dedicated to Kuan Yin, while those flanking it were dedicated to Bodhidharma and Hua Tuo respectively. It also housed an image of the Sakyamuni Buddha in its rear hall. During the Second World War, the original temple served as a shelter for the sick, wounded and homeless. 

In 1982, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple went through major reconstruction, to accommodate the growing number of devotees. The elevated statue of Sakyamuni Buddha was positioned behind Kuan Yin, who along with the other gods, was placed on a single altar. Two separate roofs were built, each of a different height. A single grand gateway was built as the entrance, flanked by smaller ones. Bright and stunning shades of reds, yellows, blues and greens were used to decorate and paint the gates. The roofs are decorated with curves, which signify good omen, and have beautiful yellow Buddhist swastikas on the edges. The tiles used within the temple hall used to be made of ceramic but have now been changed to granite ones.

Tips

  • Shoes are not allowed on the carpeted area of the Temple.
  • Photography and videography is not allowed within the complex.
  • Dress appropriately, covering shoulders and knees.
  • Take good care of their belongings, as there are several pickpockets around.

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