Singapore, the Lion City, Singapura: three monikers for one unique cultural melting pot in Southeast Asia. Whatever way you spin it, this is a land that seamlessly blends the elements of mysticism, culture, technology, hedonism and innovation to emerge as one of the world’s most vibrant city-states. Singapore is home to a thriving array of cultures, from Chinese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus, to Tamil Muslims and Chinese Christians. Throw in the odd agnostic, atheist and non-denominational spiritualist to spice up the melting pot as well and you have an international smorgasbord of ethnicities and faiths canoodling in harmony in one city.
The Tamil Hindu community is perhaps the country’s second-oldest wave of immigrants, coming into the country in the nineteenth century, preceded by the Tamil Muslims. What is now Singapore’s “Little India” was first born from the immigrant labourers who came into the country under the British Empire. These individuals sought to recreate the cultural environs of their homelands and the ideal way was the establishment of Hindu temples, which served as heritage centres in addition to being places of worship, since the two were intimately connected. One of the most famous Hindu temples along Serangoon Road, Little India’s main thoroughfare, is the Sri Veeramakaliamman temple, dedicated to the Mother Goddess aspect of Hindu lore, Mother Kali. She is the fierce female aspect of the Shakthi aspect represented by Lady Parvati, Lord Shiva’s divine consort. Mother Kali is regarded as the supreme protector of all her adherents, as well as the destroyer of evil and dissolver of untruths. Her fearsome appearance has been misconstrued by those on the outside looking in; her awesome appearance represents the truth behind the illusory world of perception and her destructive element aims to effectively cut through this veil of ignorance.
Mother Kali has been revered in Bengal, which birthed the immigrants who built this resplendent tribute to the goddess in 1881. The temple features various statues and paintings that depict the female aspect of the divine in all her various inspiring forms: the fierce annihilator of evil and ignorance, and the gentle, benign mother of the deities Lord Ganesh and Lord Murugan. The temple’s entrance features the exquisite, multi-hued gopuram (ornamental tower), an architectural trademark of famous Hindu temples scattered across India and in some parts of Sri Lanka. During the bombings of WW2, many adherents who sought refuge within the temple managed to escape the attacks unscathed, as the temple was left completely untouched by the destruction occurring elsewhere around the city.
After absorbing the breathtaking cultural offerings around the Lion City, head back to one of many 5 star hotels in Singapore for some well-deserved rest and relaxation, and be prepared for the Singaporean luxury hotel experience designed to thoroughly pamper and spoil all guests. Of all the hospitality choices, the best Singapore hotels can be found at the elite range of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Singapore featuring stylish interiors, contemporary amenities and ideal locations near fine dining, shopping and entertainment around Singapore. So the next time work or pleasure brings you here, check into one of these fine hotels for an authentic Singapura experience designed to change your world.
Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Calliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered. Google+