Home in focus: When night falls at Haw Par Villa

Visitors have been flocking to the park after dark since it extended opening hours till 10pm

One of the most impressive sights in Haw Par Villa is the iconic Eight Immortals diorama, which features a scene showing the famous figures in Chinese mythology fighting the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea and his vast army of sea creatures. A diorama
A furry visitor checking out scenes of punishment in the 10 Courts of Hell exhibit, which depicts in graphic detail the punishments in the afterlife that await souls who go astray. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
One of the most impressive sights in Haw Par Villa is the iconic Eight Immortals diorama, which features a scene showing the famous figures in Chinese mythology fighting the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea and his vast army of sea creatures. A diorama
The popular mermaids exhibit at the Signature Pond, so named because it takes the shape of the ancient calligraphic character for "Aw", the surname of Aw Boon Haw, the man behind the creation of Haw Par Villa. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
One of the most impressive sights in Haw Par Villa is the iconic Eight Immortals diorama, which features a scene showing the famous figures in Chinese mythology fighting the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea and his vast army of sea creatures. A diorama
Ms Joanne Tan (in red top), a specialised guide for the Journeys to Hell - Death & the Afterlife in Haw Par Villa tour, sharing insights with visitors on an intricate diorama featuring scenes from the Chinese classic, Journey To The West. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
One of the most impressive sights in Haw Par Villa is the iconic Eight Immortals diorama, which features a scene showing the famous figures in Chinese mythology fighting the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea and his vast army of sea creatures. A diorama
A diorama depicting a battle between Madam White Snake and her enemies, from the famous Chinese story Legend Of The White Snake. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
One of the most impressive sights in Haw Par Villa is the iconic Eight Immortals diorama, which features a scene showing the famous figures in Chinese mythology fighting the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea and his vast army of sea creatures. A diorama
One of the most impressive sights in Haw Par Villa is the iconic Eight Immortals diorama, which features a scene showing the famous figures in Chinese mythology fighting the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea and his vast army of sea creatures. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
A memorial (left) dedicated to Aw Boon Haw, and a diorama (right) depicting Tripitaka, a protagonist in Journey To The West, resisting attempts by spider spirits to seduce him.
Guan Yin Pond, named after its statue of Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. Haw Par Villa is most famous for its statues and dioramas portraying scenes from Chinese folklore. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Guan Yin Pond, named after its statue of Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. Haw Par Villa is most famous for its statues and dioramas portraying scenes from Chinese folklore.
A memorial (left) dedicated to Aw Boon Haw, and a diorama (right) depicting Tripitaka, a protagonist in Journey To The West, resisting attempts by spider spirits to seduce him. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
One of the most impressive sights in Haw Par Villa is the iconic Eight Immortals diorama, which features a scene showing the famous figures in Chinese mythology fighting the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea and his vast army of sea creatures. A diorama
The Fifth Court of Hell, where King Yama (left, seated), known as Yan Luo Wang in Mandarin, is overseeing the trial of a sinner. In the middle is the Terrace for Viewing One's Home Village, where sinners experience the psychological torment of watching from afar the loved ones they have left behind. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
One of the most impressive sights in Haw Par Villa is the iconic Eight Immortals diorama, which features a scene showing the famous figures in Chinese mythology fighting the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea and his vast army of sea creatures. A diorama
Above: Knife Hill, where sinners are tossed by attendants of the netherworld onto knives protruding out of the earth.
ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
One of the most impressive sights in Haw Par Villa is the iconic Eight Immortals diorama, which features a scene showing the famous figures in Chinese mythology fighting the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea and his vast army of sea creatures. A diorama
Visitors admiring an elaborate and colourful diorama of Mount Huaguo, or Flower and Fruit Mountain, the abode of Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King, a protagonist in Journey To The West. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
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With the right lights, hell can look heavenly, and the macabre scenes at Haw Par Villa, almost divine.

Since June, visitors have been going to the site, also known as Tiger Balm Garden, after dark to explore its 1,000 Technicolor sculptures and dioramas.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2019, with the headline Home in focus: When night falls at Haw Par Villa. Subscribe