Also within Chinatown is the Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple. Originally built in 1827 in wood and attap, a major part of the present structure is believed to have been built in 1862-1863. Built in the Dravidian style, this temple mainly serves the South Indian Tamil community. On July 6, 1973, due to its architectural and historical significance, the temple was gazetted as a National Monument.
The impressive 6-iered gopuram (entrance tower), the most outstanding feature of the temple, was built in 1925 and tapers up towards to a moulded ornamental ridge. It was repaired, restored and richly embellished with an elaborate proliferation of sculptures of Hindu deities, other figures and ornamental decorations, in the 1960s.
The scale of each tier of the gopuram and its sculptures, slightly smaller than that of the tier immediately below it, helps to create the illusion of height and adds to the symbolic importance of the building. On the right of the gopuram, as we entered the temple, is a sculpture of Murugan while on the left is one of Krishna, all made with plaster (allowing for fine detailing) and are painted in a variety of bright colors (adding to the visually spectacular quality).
Sri Mariammam Temple: 244 South Bridge Rd., Chinatown, Singapore.