When modern Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819, upon the britisher’s call to develop their newly established port, many communities made their way then, in search of fortune.
One such community is the ‘Nagarathars’ from the deep South Tamil Nadu, who came to Singapore to mainly carry out the moneylending business. History traces Nagarathars arrival in Singapore to around 1824. They started their businesses with their own money and lent money to small and big firms, individuals and others and were very successful business people.
Nagarathars are very religious people and initially, they worshipped a ‘Vel’(spear) under a tree, and went on to build a temple in 1859, that stands tall today at the Tank Road, ‘Sri Thendayuthapani Temple’.
On the 1st of June, 2023, the seventh consecration of the temple took place and the temple was gazetted as a National monument of Singapore on 20.10.2014.
We understand from the temple authorities that, it is over a year long planning to renovate the entire premises of the temple, kitchen, wedding hall and staff quarters at a huge sum of Singapore dollars. Mr Nagarajan, a stapathi from India, who has been engaged in many countries to build and renovate Hindu temples, was third time consecutively appointed to renovate the temple. Based on his recommendations, the temple now has five colours painting (panjavarnam) adding more vibrancy.
Appar, Sambandar, Tirunavukarasar statues join the Manikavasagar now, that are made of Impon. Nandhi now has a gold cover, while ‘sornabandhanam’ has been filled for Lord Siva and his consort Goddess Meenakshi. Silver Peacock vahanam that was used by the temple in the 19th century, which was inside all these years, has now brought out and kept for public viewing.
The present trustee Mr M Saminathan says, ‘as the temple is a heritage monument, nothing can be demolished and only you can renovate the existing structure’. Repairing the Meenakshi Amman sanctum took longer time than expected due to the leakage’. Also he says, due to Covid 19 situation, the renovation and repair works obviously took longer time.
The temple premises is all done and the other areas are expected to be completed before the end of this year.
For the consecration ceremony, around 1,800 volunteers served in the committes such as goodie bags packing, food serving, vegetable cutting, crowd control, making of consecration book, administration and logistics, VIP welcoming planning, yaagasalai and others.
46 priests from India, 10 priests from Singapore along with the temple priests were engaged to do the prayers for the consecration and in the yaagasalai. 36 kundam were arranged (9 for Lord Muruga, 9 for Meenakshi Amman, 9 for Lord Siva, rest the for other Gods) for the 10 times of yaagasalai poojas.
Singapore Ministers Mr Edwin Tong, Mr K Shanmugam, Ms Indranee Rajah, and Members of Parliament Ms Joan Pereira, Mr Vikram Nair, Senior Parliamentary Secretary Mr Eric Chua attended the consecration ceremony along with the representatives from the Inter Religious Organisation, Hindu Endowment Board, Hindu Advisory Board, National Heritage Board and others.
Mandalabishegam that follows until mid-July has line up of a number of concerts, debates, musical instruments and dance programs. Some of the renowned artistes like Dr Sirkali SivaChidambaram, Mr SPB Charan, Ms Nithyasree Mahadevevan, Mr Veeramani Rajoo and others with the local artistes are taking part in the cultural show now.
12,000 to 15,000 people witnessed the consecration and the temple management had taken good efforts on the day of the consecration by providing ponchos, water bottles, biscuits, umbrellas, for the devotees to pray blissfully in the outpouring rain.