Not too far from the Kwan Im Thong Hood Che chinese Buddhist Temple in Waterloo St there is another ornately decorated temple. This time it is the Sri Krishnan Hindu Temple. Krishna, which literally means dark blue is one of the incarnations of the Lord God Vishnu.
Unlike other Hindu temples in Singapore this one does not have a huge pyramidal gopuram roof over the main entrance way with a layer cake of statues. It is more modest construction although the front wall of the temple is quite dramatic and colourful. Building work first started on the temple in 1870. There was already a large community of Hindus around the Waterloo Street area. It is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Singapore
In 1987 major renovation work was undertaken. This included building a small tower with statues of characters from Hindu teachings over the entrance. Additional sanctums were added to the inside compound. In 2001, a four-storey extension was built at the back of the temple compound to enable extra space to be available for religious meetings, weddings, theology lessons and other cultural events.
Visitors are allowed to go into the temple so long as they remove their shoes first. It is free to go in but donations are welcome. What is unusual about this Hindu temple is that you will see many Chinese Singaporeans coming to the temple compound to pray.
The elders of the temple decided to construct an alter with a statue of theChinese goddess of mercy Guan Yin to accommodate them. This would never happen in a Christian church or Jewish synagogue. Other faiths should take note and be more accepting and welcoming to others to help facilitate social harmony.
The reason for the use of so many statues was to help the priests tell the stories of the Hindu theologies to the faithful who were mainly illiterate. They were able to point to the statue and expand on what they did and what the faithful should learn from that character or deities life. Unfortunately, in the monsoon season there is normally a canopy erected outside the front of the temple, to provide shelter from the rain. It obscures many of the ornate carvings and statues.