Hindu temple completes $1.2m revamp

Sri Ruthra Kaliamman Temple adorned with statues of goddess Kali in 50 different forms

Statues of the Hindu goddess Kali adorn the walls of the Sri Ruthra Kaliamman Temple.

In one, she is shown with a child in her arms - couples hoping to conceive pray to this idol. In another, she is depicted with a veena, a stringed instrument. Students often pray to her for good grades.

Fifty new statues, handcrafted by artisans from Tamil Nadu and depicting different forms of the goddess, have been installed as part of a $1.2 million upgrading exercise.

The temple, which is in Depot Road and traces its roots to 1913, is dedicated to the goddess Sri Ruthra Kaliamman - one of Kali's forms.

All Hindu temples undergo renovations and repairs every 12 years.

The Sri Ruthra Kaliamman Temple's main sanctum will be officially reopened tomorrow morning with a consecration ceremony. Witnessing the grand event equates to praying and visiting temples for many years, says temple chairman V.K. Ramachandra. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

"Devotees will now get to pray to the various forms of Kali which feature mainly in South Indian and Sri Lankan temples," said temple chairman V.K. Ramachandra, 78.

The temple's main sanctum will officially reopen to the public tomorrow morning with a consecration ceremony, after it was closed for upgrading works in March.

During the closure, devotees prayed to its deities at a temporary site set up in an ancillary building within the temple compound.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam will attend the ceremony as guest of honour, together with about 5,000 people.

Seven of 37 South Indian priests charged with conducting rites will scale scaffolding to reach the temple roof during the auspicious time of 9.30am to 10.45am.

There, they will sprinkle holy water on its rooftop kalasams - vessel-like pinnacles that point to the sky. This is an act of energy transfer with the aim of "infusing the temple and its deities with divinity", said Mr Ramachandra.

The refurbishment also involved installing new electrical wiring and light fittings, as well as giving the 32-year-old building a new coat of paint. Referring to tomorrow's event, Mr Ramachandra said Singaporeans, including devotees, attend such religious ceremonies because of their grand manner.

He added: "It is an important and significant religious event. Witnessing it equates to praying and visiting temples for many years."

Special arrangements have been made to facilitate the festivities tomorrow. These include closing Depot Walk and enlisting about 700 volunteers for crowd control.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2015, with the headline 'Hindu temple completes $1.2m revamp'. Print Edition | Subscribe