Many helping hands for temple's special day

 Above: The redesigned Sri Siva Durga temple can now host about 500 worshippers.
Above: The redesigned Sri Siva Durga temple can now host about 500 worshippers. ST PHOTOS: SEAH KWANG PENG
Left: The sculpture of goddess Sri Durga was not moved during the rebuilding process. Far left: The redesigned Sri Siva Durga temple can now host about 500 worshippers.
Above: The sculpture of goddess Sri Durga was not moved during the rebuilding process.ST PHOTOS: SEAH KWANG PENG

Buddhist society, Anglican group, coffee shop to support rebuilt temple's consecration event

A Buddhist society, an Anglican organisation and a coffee shop are all coming together to help the newly rebuilt Sri Siva Durga temple in Potong Pasir celebrate its consecration ceremony on Dec 4.

PP 881 Eating House, the temple's neighbour in Potong Pasir Avenue 1, will be reserving part of its seating area for the temple's important guests.

It will also stop the sale of alcohol that day as a mark of respect.

Meanwhile, the Mahakaruna Buddist Society in Kim Keat has signed up to help in Sri Siva Durga's free food distribution efforts to the temple's devotees on the day.

And St Andrew's Village next door has opened its space for the temple to use in the event of emergencies.

Sri Siva Durga temple's vice-president G. Krishnamurthi, 45, said: "It's the best example of multi-communal, multiracial and multi-religious integration. It's about them extending a helping hand to us. It's wonderful."

The Hindu temple, at the Potong Pasir location since the 1980s, was torn down for reconstruction two years ago because of issues like water leakage and complaints about the lack of space and ventilation.

Only a sculpture of goddess Sri Durga was retained in its original spot during the $2.7 million rebuilding effort. Her sanctum was encased in bricks as the new temple was built around it.

"We received numerous requests by devotees to retain her so we put in reinforcements and ensured that vibrations were minimal to prevent damage during the building process," said Mr Krishnamurthi.

The temple now has 500 new and refurbished sculptural works featuring cultural, religious and mythological figures and designs - the handiwork of 20 craftsmen from South India.

The redesigned Sri Siva Durga temple can now host about 500 worshippers - up from about 300 in the past.

The temple recently renewed the 30-year lease of the Potong Pasir site for $1.8 million. Money for the upgrading project largely came from the temple's reserves.

Organisers said they expect about 20,000 people to participate in the Dec 4 consecration ceremony.

A procession will start at 8am and involve priests walking with pots of holy water from nine sacred Indian rivers, including the Ganges.

They will sprinkle the water on the temple's rooftop kalasams, which are vessel-like pinnacles. The aim is to infuse the temple and its deities with divinity.

The temple's history dates back to 1906 when a shrine was built for Lord Shiva in Lavender Street. It then moved several times.

On Tuesdays and Fridays, before the break of dawn, Hindus from across Singapore line up outside the temple to light "lemon lamps" as prayer offerings to Sri Durga.

The second $3 million phase of the temple's upgrading project will include the construction of a new four-storey building which will house, among other things, a multi-purpose hall and offices.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2016, with the headline 'Many helping hands for temple's special day'. Print Edition | Subscribe