Lord Skanda-Murugan

Murukan Temples in Singapore

Devotees carrying their kavadis arriving at the Thandayudhapani temple, Tank Road
Devotees carrying their kavadis arriving at the Thandayudhapani temple, Tank Road. © Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore
A devotee, Karpal Singh, carrying the traditional kavati on Punguni Uttiram
A devotee, Karpal Singh, carrying the traditional kavadi on Punguni Uttiram Photographer: Kuet Ee Foo, © Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore

by M.K. Narayanan

Arulmiku Tantāyutapāni Temple

Arulmiku Tantāyutapāni Temple founded by Nattukottai Cettiyars in 1859 situated at 15, Tank Road, Singapore is the oldest Murukan temple in Singapore. The Cettiyar community devoted Hindus installed a Vēl (spear), a representation of Murukan, under a pipal tree on the bank of a pond even before the consecration of the temple held in 1859. In 1878 there was an addition of Siva and Parvati shrines. A Navagraha shrine was also added later on. Since the tree has been uprooted for land development, the old temple underwent some renovation and restoration two times. Two consecration ceremonies were held, one in 1936 and the other in 1955.

An imposing Rajagopuram about 75 feet high is said to be one of the tallest gopurams in this part of the land. The temple opens up into the Attamandapam, the Alankāra Mandapam and an office on the right and a library on the left. The temple is now decorated with painted cement sculptures of different forms of Murukan, Siva's tandavas and frosted glass windows with monochrome images of Hindu gods in the. Alankāra Mandapam.

The temple is popular amongst the Hindus in Singapore. One of the important festivals celebrated is Taippūcam. The main event of the day before Taippūcam is the chariot procession in which the presiding deity leaves the temple at Tank Road for a day's visit to his brother Siddhi Vinayagar at Keong Saik Road. Śrī Murukan is ceremoniously brought out of the Tandāyutapāni temple on the shoulders of the devotees and installed in a large ceremonial silver chariot placed on a vehicle.

Another important festival that is observed in this temple is the Navarātri festival, during which prayers and cultural activities are conducted. Other important festivals observed in the temple are Kanta Casti Vratam, Kārttikai prayers and Gurupūja.

Śrī Murukan Hill Temple (Śrī Murukan Tirukkunram)

Śrī Murukan Temple situated in Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 9158 has an interesting history. Around 1960 one Mr. Shanmugam, a plumber spotted a small divine structure at the top of the hill near the village Lam San. As a devoted Hindu he began to worship the shrine which resembled Munneeswaran. Later it was whole-heartedly accepted by his colleagues and villagers as a deity and pūjā was offered daily.

After a number of hurdles were crossed, the temple was registered in 1973 as the Murukan Hill Temple. Then the temple was transformed from Munneeswaran to Murukan temple after the installation of the deity Lord Murukan.

Holy Tree Śrī Bala Subrahmanya Temple

In the year 1944 the British took over the Naval Base now named H.M. Naval Base from the Japanese. Thousands of Hindus came here to work. In the year 1963 five persons under the leadership of one Karuppaiah saw a light in the bushes nearby. On reaching there, to their surprise they saw an anthill under an elantha tree. They began to light up the spot everyday. The Hindus who were working in the Naval Base together approached the British Naval Commander and requested him to allow them to construct a temple there. The commander was generous and fulfilled their request.

New Abode:
Holy Tree Śrī Bāla Subrahmanya Temple which is well-­known for its Pankuni Uttiram festival has been relocated from Canberra Road to its new premises at Yishun Industrial Park A. About 1500 devotees participate in the kavadi.

Archival photo gallery: Tai Pucam in Singapore
"Following Murukan: Tai Pucam in Singapore" by Gauri Parimoo Krishnan
Thandayudhapani Temple, Singapore
Index of research articles on Skanda-Murukan