Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sri Veeramakaliamman and Sri Mariamman Hindu Temples - Singapore

As I mentioned in a previous post, Singapore has three main ethnic groups: Chinese, Malay, and Indian.  Because of this, Singapore has at least four major religions, Christian, Islam, Buddhist, and Hindu.  We managed to explore all four on our trip and that was a first for us.  In our travels we have visited many Christian churches, Catholic basilicas, a few Jewish synagogues and one Greek Orthodox church, but this was the first time we had been to a mosque, Buddhist temple, or Hindu temple.

In this post I would like to share our adventures at the Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple.  No, I didn't misspell that and the name alone should win it a post of its own. I have no idea of how to even begin to say it.  It is my firm believe though, that the reason the most recent winners of the Scripps National Spelling Bee have been Indian-Americans is because of names like Veeramakaliamman!  The 2105 winners' last names (there was a tie)...Shivashankar and Venkatachalam. If they can spell those type words, then they can spell anything! Go ahead, tell me I'm wrong!

Let's get back to Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.  I have never seen anything like it.  We knew we had arrived when we walked up to this.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

Talk about overwhelming.  And busy. And confusing.  Were we entering a circus tent?  Want a closer look at that entrance?

Front of Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

It is thousands of Hindu deities.  I am not sure how many deities they actually have, but it is a lot.

Since it is a Hindu sacred place we were asked to remove our shoes.  I am SOO glad I had socks on.  I just don't know if I could have handled walking barefoot where hundreds of others had walked barefoot with the tropical jungle heat of Singapore making every foot sweat.  Ew.

No Footwear at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

I will give you one guess as to which are Frankie's feet.   I really was trying to get a picture of the flowers on the steps but there never was a clear shot.

Flower Wreath on Steps at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

I honestly have no idea what was happening the entire time we were there.  It must have been a prayer time.  We also went to another Hindu temple while in Singapore called Sri Mariamman, (I will tell you  more about in just a bit), which had no one in it while we were there.

What I could gather just from observation, was that these people were standing in line to get possible a blessing from the shirtless guy inside the middle door with a white cloth around his waist.  I *think* he is considered a priest.   They would had him money and he would then give them flowers and/or a small banana and then put a powdered substance on their foreheads.  He didn't put the powder on the women though.  He would put it in their hands and then they would put it on themselves.

Inside Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

Then outside the main building there were smaller alters (for lack of a better word) for prayers. I watched the man in the white dress shirt at the gold alter on the left go around to each of these alters and I guess say a little prayer.  There were probably 10 to 15 of these alters that he went around to.

Praying to deities at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

Here is some of the things that were in the different alters.  I think they are also considered Hindu deities.

Four Hindu deities at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

Here is another one, including a priest and a deity with sixteen arms. Inside each of these alter type things were money boxes.  That is the big silver box with handles.

Priest dressed in a linga and a goddess Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

This is inside another one alter, but this one would scare the living daylights out of me if I thought it was something real!  I don't even know...I mean, there appears to be a baby in one of its hands and a possible dead woman covered in flowers at its waist!!

Deities at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

I am familiar with this Hindu god, it is Ganesha or Ganesh.  I have seen it spelled both ways.  I don't know anything about it, but I have seen it before.  It isn't easy to forget a deity with an elephant head!

Ganesha at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

All around the tops of the buildings there were even more very colorful deities to behold.  It was so chaotic to see all the colors and statues.  I joked about walking into a circus tent because of the red and white stripes on the front, but of those statues has three heads!

Deities on top of Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

As wild as it seemed, I did love every part of it.  Would I convert to Hinduism.  No, but the colors and the imagery was something to behold!

Hundreds of deities on top of Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

I am sorry if this offense anyone, but I can't help it.  The statue with the mustache cracked me up! His belly, the way he is standing, his hair, his mustache....all of it just made me laugh so hard.  He looks like some creepy dude from the 70's that hits on all the women because he thinks he is a stud.

Deities Inside Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

One more from Sri Veermakaliamman Temple, this is a tapestry that was hanging in the main building.  I am not sure what is going on, but they look like a happy little deity family to me.

Hindu deities on tapestry at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

Now for a few pictures from Sri Mariamman Temple which is in Chinatown.  I have more to say about Chinatown, but that will be a separate post from this one.

Before I start in, I was able to get my second ice cream right before going to Sri Mariamman Temple.  This time I went with coconut ice cream between wafers.  Again, the ice cream was no Blue Bell, not even Blue Bunny, shoot, not even Great Value, but it was edible.  I think I liked the bread better than the wafers, but for $1 neither can really be beat on a hot day!

Ice Cream Sandwich Wafers Singapore

Just so you know what to look for if you find yourself in Singapore needing an ice cream fix.  Look for the friendly, happy ice cream man.   Well, at least look for the umbrella....

Ice Cream Man Singapore

Of course, I didn't know he was staring at me when I took the picture, but oh well!  Hi sir, I shall name you Don.  I hope you have a good day, Don!

Now on to the Sri Mariamman Temple!  I will just let your eyes do the talking....I am not sure that made sense, but in other words, look at the pretty pictures, they speak for themselves.

Front of Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple Singapore

Cows at Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple Singapore

If you want to get the full effect of this picture be sure to click on it to see it bigger.  It is one of my favorite shots of the whole trip!

Panoramic View of Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple Singapore

Just a few more from Sri Mariamman Temple to finish up this post.  How about two familiar friends?

Ganesha but in color this time.

Genesha at Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple Singapore

And mustache man!  He seems a little more settled here though.  Maybe a little older, a little wiser.  Not as creepy.  Maybe it has to do with his belly not being so shiny! Ha!

Mustached Hindu Deity Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple Singapore

Last photo.  This was across the street from the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple where you could buy flowers and other things to take over to the temple.  I just thought they were pretty.  They were fresh too!  So fresh there were even bees on them!

Garland of Flowers being Sold across from Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple  Little India Singapore

In my next post I will tell you about Chinatown and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.  It was very interesting!

I hope you will come back to read all about it.

Until then!