Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple

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Time Required: 1 hour

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6:30 AM - 9:00 PM

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Sasanaramsi Burmese Buddhist Temple, Singapore Overview

Beautifully embellished, glided golden roofs, and a huge statue of Buddha. When you read these words, you immediately think of the sacred temples in Myanmar. However, the same also applies to the ornate Burmese Buddhist Temple in Singapore. This place of worship is the oldest Theravada institution and the sole Burmese Buddhist Temple with traditional Burmese architecture in Singapore.

Situated near the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, this colossal temple is guarded by two lion-like figures, known as chinthes. It is also home to a huge, pure white marble statue of Buddha, which is a sight to behold. Throughout the year, this magnificent temple holds various festivities. Of these, the Chinese New Year celebration is the prime festival. The monks light the Temple Shrine's Hall with bright lantern lights for thirty days. Each lantern is an offering by the devotees whose names are written on them. Every offering costs $50 and the donations go to the maintenance of the temple.

Also referred to as the Maha Sasana Ramsi, this marvellous structure was founded in 1875 and is a National Heritage Site of Singapore. Initially, the glorious temple was but a small, humble temple at Kinta Road. From there, owing to the incessant and untiring efforts of U Kyaw Gaung, it began to grow in stature and since 1988 it stands on Tai Gin Road with dignity.

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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 temple was officially reopened due to the continuous efforts of the temple's spiritual advisor and the residential monks.

The resplendent Maha Sasana Ramsi is the sole Burmese Buddhist Temple outside Myanmar in the conventional Burmese style. The external fa├žade 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 this holy place is the pure white marble statue of Buddha, with a halo of LED lights around his head. Enhancing the aura of the temple with its mere presence, this statue is 3 meters high and is the largest Buddha statue outside Myanmar.

A colourful, painted wall in the Upper Hall on the third floor of this 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.

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.

Stop by Flavours at Zhongshan Park to grab some delicious Singaporean or Asian food. You can also go to one of the many coffee shops nearby and taste their appetizing Tau Sar Piah.

The splendid Burmese Buddhist Temple has a donation tree instead of a donation box. After seeking blessings from the monks, if a devotee wishes to donate, they can clip the note to this tree.

  • You will need to open your shoes before entering the temple.
  • If you wish to avoid crowds, visit during the weekend.

The Maha Sasana Ramsi is well connected to other parts of Singapore through public transport. From the Toa Payoh Bus Interchange, you can take bus 139 or 145 and get off in front of Ramada Hotel and take a short walk to the temple from there. If you are willing to take the MRT, then get off at the Toa Payoh station. From there, it will take ten minutes to reach the temple on foot.

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