After a relatively quiet weekend and a late morning today, I decided that I had better get out and see some of the local sights. My choice was to go to Singapore’s China Town. Google Maps said that it just under 2 km walk from my hotel so I decided to walk there and back. My photo location tracking program on my iPhone told me that I walked a little over eight kilometres in total today.
Singapore’s Chinatown is among the city’s most vibrant areas. It has many colourful heritage buildings that were once old Chinese shophouses. The architecture goes back to colonial times. – a bygone era in Singapore’s history. The Chinatown area is home to some of the top tourist attractions in Singapore. There are some interesting temples, historic sites and the area is bursting with bars ands restaurants.
My first stop was at the Buddha Tooth Relic temple and Museum. The temple is based on the Chinese Buddhist architectural style of the Tang dynasty to house the tooth relic of the historical Buddha. Built in 2007, the temple gets its name from what the Buddhists regard as the left canine tooth of Buddha, which has been recovered from his funeral pyre in Kushinagar, India and displayed on the temple’s grounds. The tooth is about 7.5 cm long – far too long for a human tooth but it is revered by local followers of the faith. The building is impressive from the outside but the inside is where the magic happens.
To enter, your pass through a traditional temple gateway that has 3 large, heavy, red lacquered doors in accordance with traditional Tang Dynasty style architecture. Inside is the Hundred Dragon Hall with a height of 27-feet to accommodate a 15-feet statue of the Buddha. In the Universal Wisdom Hall is another manifestation of the Buddha, sitting atop an elaborate lotus throne and flanked on each side by other religious figures. A large are with chairs and desks for chanting is situated in the middle of the hall.
I spent a lot of time in this place to experience the magic of . . . . . . air conditioning. After my long walk in the humid Singapore air, this temple seemed like heaven!
I found a small Hindu temple (Sri Mariamman Tempe) in a nearby street and stopped to photograph its ornate entrance. It dates back to 1827 and is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. It has been restored numerous times, most recently in 2010. The $4-million restoration project saw a team of about 20 artists brought in from India, and included the repainting of all the stone sculptures.
There were a lot of Indian women dressed in bright colours coming and going from the temple.
I walked along a street with a food market and further along some laneways with old buildings.
I really enjoyed some of the plaques that told of the history of this area and some of the street art such as this one that portrayed an early Chinese procession.
I ended up at the Thian Hock Teng Temple. Singapore’s oldest Chinese temple which is steeped in heritage. You wouldn’t know it now, but the tempe once faced the beach The shoreline has now been reclaimed but early Chinese immigrants came here to give thanks for their safe passage across the South China Sea., It was built in 1839 with the support of prominent members of the Hokkien community. Not a single nail was used in the original construction of the temple, which is now a gazetted national monument and managed by the Singapore Hokkien Society.
To get back to the hotel, I just followed my nose through some streets and then along the river.. One of the buildings that I passed was a fine example of how Singapore is emphasising green space and gardens. Its lower floors are used as carparks and the towers provide office space and a luxury hotel.
Back at the hotel, I was greeted by a blast of very welcome cold air, went to my room to change my dripping shirt and stopped off at the bar for a pint of beer (just to rehydrate) before going off to see Jill in hospital.
She was very tired last night offer some intense sessions of Occupational Therapy and Physio. I dare say that she will be just as tired tonight. At last, we seem to be making progress with her mobility but we still have a long way to go. It will be days before she can competently transition from her bed, or wheelchair, to a chair and that is what will be required for us to be able to fly home. However, her attitude is very positive and she is bright with a positive sense of humour. She looks very sexy in her coral coloured hospital pyjamas.