Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple

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Timings : 6:30 AM - 12:00 PM and 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Time Required : Less than 1 hour

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple, Singapore Overview

Located at Ceylon Road in Singapore, the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple is a 150-year-old Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The temple is most famous for the four granite structures depicting Lord Ganesha in 32 poses. This was the successful work of 20 Indian artisans who spent 20 years on this masterpiece.

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple was established in 1850 when the statue of Lord Vinayagar was discovered after it washed up on the banks of a stream near a champak tree. The tree, which stood on the bank of the pond, acted as an identifying element to the Senpaga (Tamil for Champak) temple. Mr.Ethirnayagam Pillai, a Ceylon Tamil pioneered the building of the first structure with the help of Indian workers. It was a decent shelter with an attap roof. This delightful abode with the Champak tree became the temple of Sri Senpaga Vinayagar. In 2003, it was designated as a historic site. The Vinayagar Shrine is from the time of the earliest groups of Sri Lankan Tamil immigrants in Singapore.

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Architecture of Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple

The architectural style of the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar is of an ancient South-Indian temple. This architectural style flourished in the 7th Century Chola Dynasty, where some of the most intricately designed temples were built. Senpaga's main tower is a 21 metre tall, five-tiered structure. The main entrance door is made of teakwood and stands at a height of 4.5 meters.

The pristine temple has large doorways that were built considering the entrance of kings on elephants. The roof is topped by a dragon with images of various deities. It was carved in detail by G.Radhakrishnan, a traditional temple architect in the year 1971. In 2009, a 4.5-meter long musical pillar was established. This pillar produces melodious sounds when tapped. It was the first of its kind in the whole of SouthEast Asia. 

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple
Ethnic sculptures on the outer wall of Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple (Source)

History

Although Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple is primarily denoted for Lord Ganesha, many community leaders and well-wishers permitted the addition of several new shrines to be housed here. They were the idols of Lord Shiva, Goddess Ambal, Subramaniam, Vairavar and Nageshwarar. The first consecration of the temple was held for the first time in 1930. On an unfortunate event during the Second World War, the temple premises were bombed, and this led to severe damage to the building. However, Dr.P Thillainathan, the Chairman of this temple took complete responsibility to restore the temple to its previous condition.

In 1949, the structure went through a series of reconstruction and renovation over the years. Six years later, in 1955, the temple was back to its former state, and another consecration ceremony was witnessed. Repeated altering and upgrading the place resulting in the incorporation of halls, kitchens, classrooms, a perimeter wall, wedding dias and a library. Eventually, a three-storey extension with an air-conditioned wedding and dining hall was declared open.

During the 1990s, chunks of concrete appeared to be falling off the ceiling, and the walls of the temple began to have cracks. This led the SCTA to take action and a resolution was passed to appoint respective authorities for the rebuilding of the temple. In the year 2000, the reconstruction work had been undertaken to prevent structural damage. Finally, in the year 2003, the Sri Senpaga Vinaygara was re-consecrated for the fifth time. It was esteemed as a unique temple since the rebuilding of it had the contributions of many non-Hindus. The architect Priscilla Chow worked along with Indian artisans. Their work resulted in the designation of the temple as a historical site by the National Heritage Board, Singapore.

How To Reach Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar temple can be accessed through public transport. Buses 10, 12, 32, 14 and 40 stop at a walkable distance from the temple. To reach via MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), alight at Paya Lebar MRT Station and board Bus No.40 to the temple. Another option would be to detrain at the Dakota MRT and take Bus No.10.

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