New walk highlights heritage of harmony

NHB launches guided tours focused on Republic's racial and religious diversity

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 Guanyin statue.

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

Both places of worship, 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 along Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen streets.

The first round of tours between Nov 23 and March 31 next year will cover seven religious institutions. They 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 three guided walks, with tours along Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen streets being the first. Two more trails, one at Telok Ayer and another at South Bridge Road, will be progressively launched next year.

The Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen streets have one of the highest concentration of diverse religious institutions in Singapore, 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 Saints 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 the light of 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 be taking place weekly on Saturdays at 9am, Sundays at 4pm and the last Friday of every month at 4pm. The public can register for these walks at https://peatix.com/group/6940178

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2019, with the headline 'New walk highlights heritage of harmony'. Print Edition | Subscribe