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Sri Mariamman Temple
The Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore's oldest Hindu temple. It is an agamic temple, built in the Dravidian style. Located at No. 244 South Bridge Road, in the downtown Chinatown district, the temple serves mainly South Indian Tamil Hindu Singaporeans in the city-state. Due to its architectural and historical significance, the temple has been gazetted a National Monument and is a major tourist attraction. Sri Mariamman Temple is managed by the Hindu Endowments Board, a statutory board under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.
The Sri Mariamman Temple was founded in 1827 by Naraina Pillai, eight years after the British East India Company established a trading settlement in Singapore.
Pillai was a government clerk from Penang who arrived in Singapore with Stamford Raffles on his second visit to the island in May 1819. He went on to set up the island's first construction company. He also entered the textile trade. Pillai rapidly established himself in business and was identified as a leader of the Indian community.
By 1827, Pillai had built a simple temple made of wood and attap. In the same year, he installed "Sinna Amman", a small representation of the goddess Mariamman, in the temple. Mariamman is a rural South Indian mother goddess who is especially worshipped for protection against diseases. According to the Hindu Endowments Board, the current managers of the temple, the existing deity in the principal shrine of the temple is the original installed by Pillai in 1827. As is common practice, the temple is named after its principal deity. The temple was also known to devotees over the years as the Sithi Vinayagar and Gothanda Ramaswamy Mariamman Temple or, more simply, Mariamman Kovil ('Kovil' being the Tamil word for temple).
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