20,000 gather for revamped temple's consecration ceremony

The Sri Siva Durga temple had gone through a two-year $2.7 million reconstruction. The renovated temple can now host 500 worshippers, up from 300 previously.
The Sri Siva Durga temple had gone through a two-year $2.7 million reconstruction. The renovated temple can now host 500 worshippers, up from 300 previously.PHOTO: MARCUS TAN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Nearly 20,000 Hindus queued up to enter the renovated Sri Siva Durga temple after a special consecration ceremony yesterday morning.

The temple in Potong Pasir had undergone a two-year $2.7 million reconstruction.

A procession began at 8am, when priests walked in with pots of holy water to the beating of drums and blowing of trumpets.

Devotees watched as priests sprinkled the water on the temple's roof-top kalasams, vessel-like pinnacles that point to the sky.

The temple's vice-president G. Krishnamurthi, 45, said he was "extremely delighted" by the turnout.

It helped that the rebuilt temple could accommodate more people, he said. It can host 500 worshippers, up from 300 previously.

Several religious groups and businesses chipped in to ensure the event ran smoothly.

Volunteers from the Mahakaruna Buddhist Society distributed breakfast and drinks to the crowd.

The Church of the Ascension, located near the temple, brought forward its Sunday service to Saturday evening, so that its carpark can be used for ambulance and police services for the event.

A nearby coffee shop removed its tables to make space for the devotees and voluntarily stopped the sale of alcohol yesterday morning as a mark of respect.

This led Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam to describe the event as "a typical showcase of what racial and religious harmony in Singapore means".

He attended the ceremony with Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin.

"This is racial and religious harmony in practice. It's very hard won over 50 years," Mr Shanmugam said. "It is something to be cherished."

Melissa Lin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2016, with the headline '20,000 gather for revamped temple's consecration ceremony'. Print Edition | Subscribe