Saturday, November 5, 2011

Singapore: Chinatown & Little India

Met J in the morning who took us on a tour all around town.  We started in Chinatown.

Singapore's Chinatown is the traditional Chinese quarters of town, and while the entire city is largely Chinese these days the area does retain some of its own charm. The area is also known as Niu Che Shui (牛车水) in Chinese and Kreta Ayer in Malay, both names meaning "bullock cart water", a reference to the carts that used to haul in drinking water. The area between Pagoda Street and Smith Street has been tarted up considerably for tourists, but workaday Chinatown continues south and east, merging seamlessly into the Central Business District. Tanjong Pagar is the unofficial home of Singapore's gay community, with many watering holes in restored shophouses, while Club Street caters more to the expat and yuppie crowd with small, intimate eateries offering excellent (if pricy) Western fare. Unlike most of predominantly Hokkien Singapore, the dominant Chinese dialect in Chinatown is Cantonese.

There were lots of little shops with the typical Chinese stuff for sale.

Sri Mariamman Temple

We went inside Sri Mariamman Temple which was located in Chinatown.

The Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore's oldest Hindu temple. It is an agamic temple, built in the Dravidian style. Located at No. 244 South Bridge Road, in the downtown Chinatown district, the temple serves mainly South Indian Tamil Hindu Singaporeans in the city-state. The Sri Mariamman Temple was founded in 1827 by Naraina Pillai, eight years after the British East India Company established a trading settlement in Singapore. Since it's construction in 1827, it has played an important role in the lives of Hindus in Singapore. In the early years, it provided shelter for Indian immigrants, and was the only Hindu temple whose priests were vested with the authority to solemnise Hindu marriages. Dedicated to the Mother Goddess, Sri Mariammam, the temple attracted many devotees, who turned to her powers of healing.

The old architecture in Chinatown was also cool.

Next we visited the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is a Buddhist temple and museum complex located in the Chinatown district of Singapore. The temple is based on the Tang dynasty architectural style and built to house the tooth relic of the historical Buddha. The ground breaking ceremony was conducted on 13 March 2005. Costing S$62 million and 2 years later, a soft launch was held to coincide with the 2007 Vesak Day celebration. It is claimed that the relic of Buddha from which it gains its name was found in 1980 in a collapsed stupa in Myanmar.

There was a service happening with everyone chanting Buddhist sayings, and people were praying with incense like in Japan.

egg sweets
Next J took us to try some of her favorite sweets which were egg flavored and yummy.

There was lots of bustle in Little India and somehow it looks like Doha in certain parts...

Little India

Since it was Eid they had decorations up and these flowers.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

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