Sri Thendayuthapani Temple is Singapore's 67th national monument

MCCY Minister Lawrence Wong (centre) is blessed by assistant priest Suresh Kannan in front of the main sanctum at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple after the official ceremony to gazette it as a national monument on Oct 20, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: MARK
MCCY Minister Lawrence Wong (centre) is blessed by assistant priest Suresh Kannan in front of the main sanctum at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple after the official ceremony to gazette it as a national monument on Oct 20, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
The Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road is the 67th national monument and the third Hindu temple to get on the list. . -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
The Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road is the 67th national monument and the third Hindu temple to get on the list. . -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
MCCY Minister Lawrence Wong (centre) takes a tour of Sri Thendayuthapani Temple after the official ceremony to gazette it as a national monument on Oct 20, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
MCCY Minister Lawrence Wong (centre) takes a tour of Sri Thendayuthapani Temple after the official ceremony to gazette it as a national monument on Oct 20, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - The republic has its 67th national monument - the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road.

The temple which was established in 1859 by the Nattukottai Chettiars, was gazetted by the National Heritage Board (NHB) this morning. It is the third Hindu temple to be part of the list.

The board said the temple is socially, culturally, historically and architecturally significant.

The Chettiars first arrived in Singapore in the early 1800s, and were traders, merchant bankers and financiers. Many centred their economic and religious activities around the South-Indian-style temple.

The board said that the community played a key role in transforming Singapore's as well as Southeast Asia's traditional subsistence-based economy into an export-oriented one, through the early establishment of financial institutions such as the Indian Bank and Indian Overseas Bank.

The temple, which was rebuilt between 1980 and 1983, continues to be of "great cultural importance to the Hindu community", added NHB. For instance, it serves as a focal point for the annual Thaipusam festival, which it has organised for more than a century.

A key architectural feature of the temple is its 23m high gopuram or entrance tower, which is one of the tallest in Southeast Asia and the grandest in Singapore. The gopuram which has five tiers is decorated with idols such as Shiva, Vishnu, Brama and Ganesha that were handmade by artisans from Madras.

Ms Jean Wee, the director of the Preservation of Sites and Monuments division at NHB, said the temple which is an architectural treasure, embodies the "indelible contributions" of the Chettiar community.

She said that gazetting it a national monument, the country will be "safeguarding it for its pivotal function as a place of worship as well as social space for the Indian community, and also ensuring that our built heritage is preserved sensitively in our multicultural society".