National Heritage Board to launch free guided tours to seven religious institutions

Harmony Walks comprises three guided walks, with tours around Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen streets being the first.
Harmony Walks comprises three guided walks, with tours around Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen streets being the first.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - It is a Hindu temple with a Buddhist urn in front of it. Walk into the temple grounds and one can spot Buddhist-Taoist devotees and even a Guan Yin statue.

This is not unusual for the Sri Krishnan Temple in Waterloo Street, which is a stone's throw from the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple.

Both temples, which date back to the 19th century, form a segment of Harmony Walks, a new programme by the National Heritage Board (NHB) which will take visitors on free guided tours around Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen streets.

The first round of tours between Nov 23 and March 31 next year will cover seven religious institutions. They are intended to showcase how racial and religious groups coexist peacefully, as well as the unique practices that have developed due to the proximity of the institutions.

Harmony Walks comprises of three guided walks, with tours in Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen streets being the first. Two more trails, one in Telok Ayer and another in South Bridge Road, will be progressively launched in 2020.

Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen streets have one of the highest concentration of diverse religious institutions, most of which date back to the 1800s. The two-hour guided tour will take visitors to Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, Sri Krishnan Temple, Maghain Aboth Synagogue, Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Church of Sts Peter and Paul, Kum Yan Methodist Church and Masjid Bencoolen.

"The tours will be perfect for tourists, students and new citizens who are keen to learn more about Singapore's multiracial, multi-religious heritage," Mr Alvin Tan, deputy chief executive (policy and community) of NHB said.

"We wanted to highlight how these different religious institutions, which are in such close proximity with one another, actually coexist in harmony. This is timely in light of the trends towards intolerance and extremism in the region and to remind visitors about the importance of racial and religious harmony," he added.

 

The tours will take place weekly, on Saturdays at 9am, Sundays at 4pm and the last Friday of every month at 4pm. The public can start to register for these walks from Thursday (Nov 14) at https://peatix.com/group/6940178