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Ideal time : 1 - 2 hours

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

Timings : 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Yueh Hai Ching Temple, Singapore Overview

A multicultural city like Singapore thrives with temples, mosques and chapels. The Chinese culture, being the most predominant, has given rise to several exquisite places of worship. Wak Hai Cheng Bio Temple, also referred to as the Yueh Hai Ching Temple, is one of the oldest Taoist places of worship in Singapore. Literally translating to 'Temple of the Calm Cantonese Sea', this quaint temple is a subtle reminder that the surrounding area used to be covered in turquoise waters prior to the land reclamation projects which pushed the shoreline outwards. Over the following years, major restorations worth at least SGD 10 million were made to this temple in due course of time and it was also honoured with the Asia-Pacific Heritage Award by UNESCO.

Also called the Temple Of Love, the Yueh Hai Ching Temple had its humble beginning as a small shrine made of wood and thatch in 1826. At present, this religious place is filled with the scent of incense sticks and the premises are ornate with three-dimensional figurines of the Chinese Opera. The gorgeous Taoist Temple is divided into two blocks, each housing its own presiding deity. The left block is dedicated to Ma Zu, or Tian Hou Sheng Mu, the Mother of Heavenly Sages. She is believed to ensure that the travellers embark on a safe journey. The block on the right is devoted to the God of Business, Xuan Tian Shang Di, also known as Duo Lau Yah, and Yue Lao, the deity of love and marriage. The glorious temple also houses the statue of the Gambler Brother, with coins around his neck. He is said to bless people with good luck and wealth. Located at Phillip Street, the magnificent sanctuary is thronged by faithful devotees who come here on a regular basis to offer prayers and seek blessings. Many people come to this temple to pray to Yue Lao, the deity of love and marriage, in aspiration of finding a suitable partner.

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History of Yueh Hai Ching Temple

The history of the magisterial Wak Hai Cheng Bio Temple is somewhat obscure. It is believed to have come into existence in 1820 in the form of a plain attap temple. In 1826, a wood and thatch shrine was erected at the same spot by Lim Poon. Constructed mainly for the sailors who underwent several voyages between Singapore and China so that they could come and be grateful for their journey, the name of the temple also translates to “Temple of the Calm Sea Built by the Guangdong People”. It was between 1852 and 1855 when the beautiful structure of the temple, as it stands today, was created. Back then, Wak Hai Cheng Bio Temple also doubled as a community centre where people shared news and provided support during the First World War. The temple underwent no less than two major renovations, the first being between 1995 and 1997, while the second from 2011 to 2014, but the main structure remained intact.

Architecture of the Yueh Hai Ching Temple

Built after keeping Feng Shui in mind, the tranquil Wak Hai Cheng Bio Temple was constructed upon the Teochew classical Chinese architectural style. Upon entering the temple one comes across a mesmerising forecourt which offers a panoramic view of the holy temple. A striking feature of the architecture is the embellishment on the roofs. The roof of the right block is adorned with the figures of two dragons that are seen to be flanking a metal rod topped by a shiny pearl. The temple of Ma Zu has a roof that is also ornate with dragons. However, in this case they are seen guarding the city, probably against evil forces. Miniature ceramic pagodas and human figurines are laid out on the roofs which depict Chinese towns and give them an unconventional ornamentation. Three-dimensional rosewood carvings lapped by gold foil and paint cover most of the temple structure, giving it a regal appearance. In the courtyard hangs a spiral joss which adds to the picturesque effect of this charming place of worship. The walls are adorned with bold-coloured frescoes of tigers and dragons that seem to be popping out of them.

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