A Guide to a Peaceful Visit to Sri Mariamman Temple
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A Guide to a Peaceful Visit to Sri Mariamman Temple

Singapore’s society is a rich tapestry of diverse ethnicities and cultures. Because of this, you can find many amazing temples dedicated to various religions, which is why temple-hopping is a popular activity among tourists. 

One temple that tourists visit a lot is Sri Mariamman Temple, which is located in Chinatown. This is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, so it’s not just a place of worship; it’s also a historical monument. 

If you’re planning to visit Sri Mariamman Temple soon, this article can be your guide for a peaceful visit.  

Things to Know

Address: 244 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058793
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—6 am to 12 pm, 6 to 9 pm
Admission Fee: Free
Contact Number: +6562234064

History and Background

Sri Mariamman Temple was constructed in 1827, only eight years after the establishment of the British East India Company trading settlement in Singapore. 

This temple was built by immigrants from the Nagapatnam and Cuddalore districts of South India. 

It was supposed to be on Telok Ayer Street, as the British suggested to the Hindus. But the Hindus refused because the street had no convenient source of water, which is important for their rituals.

The temple eventually became a refuge for Indian immigrants, and since its construction, it’s undergone several renovations and expansions. Currently, the temple is a complex with three stories, an auditorium, and multi-functional rooms.

Additionally, because of its historical, cultural, and architectural significance, the Sri Mariamman Temple has been gazetted as a national monument in Singapore. 

How to Get There

Bus: To get to Sri Mariamman Temple by bus, ride any of the following lines: 61, 166, or 197. Alight at the Chinatown bus stop, which is only a short walk away from the temple.

MRT: If you prefer riding the MRT, simply take the train to Chinatown station and then walk to the temple, which is very close. 

Car: If you prefer driving, there are several parking lots near the temple. Examples include the commercial car park at Chinatown Heritage Center and the one at 53 Club Street. 

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Sri Mariamman Temple is early morning or the evening because that’s when the temple is most peaceful. 

Visiting in the evening is particularly a good idea because devotees will perform their rituals, so you’ll get a glimpse of their practices. 

I also recommend visiting during Hindu events and festivals like the Thaipusam Festival or Deepavali because you’ll be able to witness devotees celebrate. It will be a grand, fun time!

Rules to Keep in Mind

Sri Mariamman Temple is a place of worship, so understandably, you need to abide by a few rules to ensure a hassle-free visit. 

  • Wear the proper attire. For men, sleeved tops and long pants are recommended, while for women, the outfit should be long-sleeved tops and skirts or pants that cover up to your ankles. Be sure to conceal your cleavage as well.
  • Before stepping inside the temple, take off your footwear. 
  • Observe silence when you’re inside the temple. 
  • If you want to take photos inside, turn off the flash of your camera phone.

What to Expect

A Bright and Beautiful Gopuram

The first thing you’ll definitely see when visiting Sri Mariamman Temple is its gopuram. A gopuram is a monumental entrance tower found at the entrance of a Hindu temple.

Many gopurams tend to be ornate, and the one at this temple is no exception. This gopuram boasts six tiers of elaborately carved Hindu gods and other notable figures and creatures in Hinduism; each carving is also painted in bright colors. 

Massive Temple Doors

Aside from the spectacular gopuram, the temple’s entrance doors are just as magnificent. 

They’re massive, which is intentional because their size can make you think of the divine and how small you are compared to the gods. They’re also lined with bells because devotees believe ringing them brings you good fortune. 

So, when you visit the temple, don’t be afraid to ring them. A little luck has never hurt anyone!

Colorful Interior

Beauty isn’t just reserved for the temple’s exterior; inside, it’s just as breathtaking. 

Sri Mariamman Temple’s interior features colorful paintings everywhere—even on the ceiling! These paintings depict Hindu gods and mythological beings; even if you’re not Hindu yourself, you can’t deny that these works of art are gorgeous. 

Home to Many Important Gods

Sri Mariamman Temple is dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, who has the power to cure illnesses and diseases. But it’s also home to two other gods: Murugan and Krishna. 

Murugan is the god of war and the patron deity of Tamils, while Krishna is the god of compassion, protection, and love. 

For this reason, you can see statues of Murugan and Krishna in addition to the Mariamman ones. Murugan’s statue is golden, while Krishna’s statue is easily recognizable because of its blue skin. 

Lively Rituals in the Evening

At night is truly when the temple comes to life because that’s when most devotees choose to stop by. 

Priests and worshippers will participate in age-old rituals, which include playing music and dancing. Then, they present beautifully arranged gifts to the gods; the most common gifts are mangoes and coconut leaves because they symbolize purity. 

Another interesting ritual the devotees do is walking in a clockwise direction in the temple an odd number of times. They believe that doing this will bring them good luck.


Another ritual that devotees in Sri Mariamman Temple participate in is Kumbhabhishekham. Popular in South India, this ritual allegedly awakens and fuses the mystic powers of Hindu gods. 

During Kumbhabhishekham, devotees soak the Kumbha with holy water in a holy pot. The Kumbha is another word for “head,” and it refers to the crown of the temple, which is in the gopuram.

This act of bathing the Kumbha is believed to awaken the deity’s powers. The deity’s powers then go down the silver wire and enter its statue, which can be found in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. 

After the ritual, the deity is believed to have transformed from being a stone statue to a living representation.

When Kumbhabhishekham is done changes every year; for example, in 2010, it was held on April 11, while in 2023, it was on February 12. This is because devotees have to make sure to pick an auspicious day and time for this sacred ritual.

Firewalking Festival

The Firewalking Festival (Theemithi) is perhaps the most well-known event hosted in Sri Mariamman Temple, and it’s not surprising why this is the case. It’s literally a festival where people walk on fire!

The festival is held between mid-October and mid-November, usually a week before Deepavali. It’s held in honor of Sri Drowpathai Amman, a goddess in a Hindu epic who vowed to end the great war. 

Devotees believe that walking on fire symbolizes the goddess’s completion of her vow.