Burmese Buddhist Temple of Singapore
(11 July, 2011)
The Burmese Buddhist Temple
(GPS: 1.32843, 103.84693) at 14 Tai Gin Road is the only Burmese Buddhist temple in Singapore
. The present building was completed in 1988 following the government's resettlement programme. It is located next to the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
The founding of the Burmese Buddhist Temple goes back to the early part of the 20th century. It was largely due to the efforts of a Burmese-born practitioner of traditional medicine, U Kyaw Gaung, also known as Khoo Teogou.
U Kyaw Gaung was born in Mandalay, Myanmar, in 1866. Seeking greener pastures, he moved to Singapore, and later had his family relocating there to join him. Although having left his homeland, U Kyaw Gaung did not leave behind his belief in Theravada Buddhism. Instead he strived to introduce his belief to the people in Singapore.
The Burmese Buddhist Temple was originally located at 17 Kinta Road, in the Serangoon area. In 1907, U Kyaw Gaung was made a Trustee of the temple. He had great plans for the temple, among them, to create a big Buddha image for it. To realise this dream, he staged a fund raising. Together with his own hard-earned money, he was able to make trips to Myanmar, to look for the suitable raw material for his Buddha image. That was around 1918.
Interior of the Burmese Buddhist Temple of Singapore
(11 July, 2011)
U Kyaw Gaung found the marble he wanted at the Sagaing Hills near Mandalay. It was a 10-ton block which he bought for Rs. 1200. The stonemasons of Mandalay worked on the piece of marble to carve our the image of Buddha, which is in the Burmese style. The statue was completed about three years later, and with backing from Mr Aw Boon Par (of Haw Par Villa fame), it was successfully transported back to Singapore in 1921.
The Burmese Buddha image was first housed in a Buddha Wehara, which was really nothing more than a shed. From there, it was moved to the temple at Kinta Road in 1925, where it remained until its relocation to Tai Gin Road. U Kyaw Gaung passed away in 1935, after which his children continued to be caretaker of the temple, which became a private residence.
The Burmese Buddha image
(11 July, 2011)
In 1981, U Kyaw Gaung's family had to vacate their home as the land was being acquired for redevelopment. Construction of the new temple at Tai Gin Road began in 1988 and it was officially opened in 1991. The temple hall is noted for its intricate wood carving. It houses the Burmese Buddha image. Within the compound is a Bodhi tree. It was grown from a seed taken from the bodhi tree at Mangala Vihara Buddhist Temple.
Burmese Buddhist Temple
14 Tai Gin Road,
Phone: +65 6251 1717
Take the North South Line
of the Singapore MRT
to the Toa Payoh MRT Station
(NS19). Get out of the station and head south. Cross the Toa Payoh Town Park and use the overhead bridge to cross the Pan Island Expressway
(PIE). Then continue on Hood Road till you reach junction with Tai Gin Road. The temple is at the end of the road.
Entrance arch of the Burmese Buddhist Temple
(11 July, 2011)
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