A crowd of about 15,000 Hindu devotees braved heavy rain on Sunday morning to be part of the consecration ceremony of a 94-year-old temple in Chinatown here.
The ceremony also marked the end of the SGD 1 million renovation and maintenance work carried out over seven months at the Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar temple. The temples in Singapore are given a makeover every 12 years.
The renovation included facilities upgrade, including the addition of a wheelchair ramp, repainting of murals and more cubicles in the restrooms, reported The New Paper on Monday.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, and Members of Parliament Joan Pereira and Murali Pillai joined the ceremony.
A common practice at the temple is to make 108 rounds of the sanctum. Around 5,000 people perform this ritual at the temple on a regular day, said temple management committee president RM Muthaiah.
The renovations have maximised the space where devotees can worship and carry out the rituals.
Muthaiah said the temple has drawn devotees from many different cultures for years.
“In fact, the first person to (enter the temple) every day is a Chinese man, an ardent devotee. Every day, without fail, he will be the first person standing outside when we open the door,” Muthaiah was quoted as saying.
Koh Kok Wah, 57, attended the consecration ceremony for the first time after two of his Indian friends invited him to the sacred prayers.
He has been praying to the elephant-headed Hindu god, Ganesha, for years, even though he identifies himself as a Buddhist.
“I found the Hindu rituals in the ceremony very interesting,” Koh, who owns a small shop selling Buddhist talismans, told the Singapore tabloid.