Sri Siva Durga temple in Potong Pasir to reopen and hold consecration ceremony on Dec 4

SINGAPORE - 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 Hindu temple's neighbour along 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 Buddhist Society which has an office in Kim Keat, has signed up to help in Sri Siva Durga's free food distribution efforts to devotees on the day.

And St Andrew's Village next door has opened up 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, multi-racial and multi-religious integration. It's about them extending a helping hand to us... It's wonderful."

The temple, which has been at the Potong Pasir location since the 1980s, was torn down for reconstruction two years ago (2014) because of issues such as water leakage and complaints on the lack of space and ventilation.

Only a sculpture of Hindu goddess Sri Durga was retained in its original spot during the $2.7 million rebuilding efforts. 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.

During the upgrading, devotees could still worship its other deities, as well as a smaller version of Sri Durga, at a temporary space within the compound.

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

It is also more well-ventilated and light streams in from its sky windows. The redesigned Sri Siva Durga temple can now host about 500 worshippers, up from about 300 previously.

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 then sprinkle the water on the temple's roof-top 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.

The popularity of goddess Sri Durga started in the 1970s, said organisers. 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.

To make a lemon lamp, worshippers cut the fruit in two, gut out its flesh, fill it with ghee and light up a wick that is inserted into its centre. Worshippers pray to Sri Durga for strength and wealth, and success in education.

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.