Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery

Weather :

Ideal time : 1-2 hours

Timings : 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery, Singapore Overview

Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery is a beautiful, huge Buddhist temple which houses Buddhas in different halls. Also known as Siong Lim Temple, this authentic Chinese Buddhist temple has a deep history of more than 100 years. The serene monastery was founded in 1898, but the complete construction was only finished by 1907. This national monument has witnessed the various eras of history and change, surviving drastic climate changes, World War II and many restoration processes. It now stands proudly as a seven-story pagoda with a gold-topped roof, which is a replica of the 800-year-old Fujian temple, Shanfeng.

Lian Shan Shuang Lin is Chinese for 'Twin Grove of the Lotus Mountain Temple'. This is in reference to the twin sala tree groves that are in Bodh Gaya, India, under which Lord Buddha received enlightenment. This enchanting monastery is an interesting blend of multiple Chinese architectural styles, and one can see the immense influences and traces of authentic Chinese architecture. Since 1980, the monastery has been gazetted as a national monument, standing in as a symbol of the cultural and social roots of the Chinese immigrants.

The temple has a charming courtyard filled with Bonsai trees, connected to the monastery's three halls through a beautifully shaded pathway. This serene temple stands out as a place of worship amidst the concrete haze of the city. The shrine is a result of a mystical dream of Low Kim Pong, a prosperous merchant who donated the land where this divine monastery stands today. This place gives a lot of importance to monastic discipline standards laid down by the standards of the Cong Lin Monastery Layout.

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History of Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery

Legend has it that a self-made merchant named Low Kim Pong dreamt of a man illuminating golden light and arriving at a waterfront. With a curiosity to interpret this mysterious dream, Low Kim Pong visited the same place the very next day. Near the wharf, he met a man named Xian Hui, who had hailed from India with a group of monks and nuns. Low Kim Pong insisted Xian Hui to stay and spread Buddhism in Singapore and donated 50 acres of land to build a monastery which is now called Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery.

In 1910, the building started to deteriorate as a result of termite infections and extreme weather conditions. Many restoration changes took place in the monastery between 1918-1920. However, there were still cracks in the roof and on a few walls. This led to the setting up of a restoration and preservation committee, who decided to bring back the temple to its former glory without compromising its authenticity. After years of toiling to bring out the old charm of the monastery, in the year 2001, the renovation was finally put to an end, and the doors of the monastery have been open to its visitors ever since.

Architecture of Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery

The man behind the architecture of this monastery is unknown, but the structure is inspired and modelled after Xi Chan Si, a Fujian Temple. It is a blend of three architectural styles - Fuzhou, Quanzhou and Zhangzhou. The outlook of this temple is in resemblance to 'Cong Lin' which translates to layers of the forest. The main entrance of the monastery is called Shan Men, meaning Mountain Gate which features multiple majestic gates that are over 9 meters tall, supported by stone pillars and intricately designed with Chinese calligraphy and adjoined by a wooden roof.

Vibrant paintings of Buddhist gardens adorn the gates, and the significant feature of the main door is its bronze doorknob shaped as jiaotu, a watch dragon. The entrance hall is called Tian Wang Dian, meaning 'Hall of Celestial Kings'. The roof of Tian Wang Dian is intricately decorated with Zhangzhou style wood carvings. The main hall that is said to be the Mahavira hall is known as Da Xian Bao Dian. The granite walls of the building have expressive graphics that depict the scenes conveying stories of Chinese culture and history. The upper and lower tiers of Da Xian Bao Dian are supported by the Fuzhou style square beams and Quanzhou style round beams. The tallest pagoda has bells stationed inside that chime with a gentle breeze.

Best Time To Visit Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery

Mid-autumn festival, 30th September - 4th October 2017. Be here for the lanterns at night.

Tips For Visiting Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery

  • Reach early morning to enjoy some quiet time.
  • Revealing dresses are frowned upon. Dress modestly covering shoulders and knees.
  • Carry your umbrella/wear hats.
  • Arrive no later than 4:00 PM.
  • Refrain from photography

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