PICTURES

Devotees flock to Darma Muneeswaran Temple's dedication

A sea of about 12,000 devotees crowded around the Darma Muneeswaran Temple on Wednesday to witness its consecration.

All Hindu temples undergo renovations and repairs every 12 years, and the temple and its deities have to be re-consecrated through a Maha Kumbhabishegam ceremony, which literally means the pouring of holy water.

The ceremony started at about 10.30am yesterday, when several priests, carrying vessels of holy water on their heads, walked towards the temple gates, flanked by temple volunteers with fire torches and musicians blowing conches and beating drums.

The vessels were tipped over the heads of the temple's nine deities, and the remaining water was used to bless devotees.

The ceremony, which ended at about noon, cost about $500,000 to organise - which was raised through donations from devotees and members of the public.

The Darma Muneeswaran Temple was built around a bodhi tree in its current Serangoon North location in the 1990s. It was replaced by a $3.5 million building at the same spot in 2000.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S. Iswaran, who attended the event, said he remembered the ground-breaking ceremony for the new temple complex exactly 15 years ago.

He added: "I am also heartened to note that, besides its spiritual role, the temple has been committed to serve a large social cause that fosters civic engagement and community life across ethnic and religious boundaries."

Since 2003, the temple has given out more than $400,000 in bursaries to about 1,400 students. It also conducts tuition, music classes and reading sessions for pre-schoolers of all ethnicities.

Madam Amutha Kumaran, 43, who attended the ceremony with her two young children, said she got married at the temple in 1999. She added: "As the years go by, the world has really modernised. I wanted to bring my children here to appreciate the culture and get God's blessings too."

limjess@sph.com.sg