30 - 45 Min
Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest and most important Fukien or Hoklo (Hokkien) temple in Singapore. located in Chinatown. The construction of Thian Hock Keng was completed in 1842, more than 100 years ago, when it was a beachfront temple. The local was the first stop for grateful Chinese immigrants who have survived the difficult voyage from Southern China. At the entrance to the Temple is a very low granite wall or barrier built to prevent the seawater from entering the Temple during high tide.
Built between 1839 and 1842 by the Hokkien clan, the temple sits next to its brother, the smaller Temple of the Heavenly Jade Emperor. It was constructed in traditional Southern Chinese style and no nails were used to hold the tiles, timber, and stone together. Under the management of the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, it was fully renovated in the late 1990s. The temple is now much bigger than the humble joss house that was erected in 1821 by Southern Chinese seafarers on what used to be the waterfront. The tiny original was built to thank the goddess Ma Cho Po (Māzǔ or Tiān Hòu), a sea goddess from Fujian province and patron of the Hokkien people. As the journey across the sea was treacherous, the grateful junk sailors wanted to give praise upon their arrival. This they did in droves. Sir Stamford Raffles, the British statesman, founded Singapore in 1819 and soon after him came Chinese merchants looking to make their fortunes. These early pioneers founded the joss house and by the 1830s large numbers were landing in front of the small temple. These southern Chinese, disillusioned with the neglect they were receiving from the emperor in the north and the difficult economic and political climate of south China, descended on Singapore. Wealthy Hokkien merchants such as Tan Tock Seng who came from Malacca in Malaysia (one of the main patrons) donated large sums of money to construct a larger temple in the 1830s. Money was collected also from junk boat owners and soon the building works were underway. Materials and craftsmen were brought from China and in 1840 the statue of Ma Cho Po, as the goddess is called in the Hokkien language, arrived from Amoy to be enshrined in the new main hall. The new temple, built of pine, ironwood, granite, and colorful tile reflected the sudden fortunes and opportunities available to the immigrants and was a status symbol for the community. Upon arriving, newcomers could see that there were possibilities for them in Singapore. The now landlocked temple was an important focal point for the community and it acted over the years as a meeting place for the Hokkien Clan leaders, performance venue and school. During the Japanese occupation in the Second World War it was a vital symbol for the resistance movement.
Thian Hock Keng offers free guided tours for organized groups from community groups, non-profit organizations, agencies, associations and schools during events and celebrations such as Chinese New Year, Mazu’s Birthday Celebration, and other major events, or for the general public during special events organized by our partners. Content and duration vary depending on the season and requirements. These guided tours cover the temple’s history, customs, and faith. In addition, one is able to understand and appreciate Thian Hock Keng temple as an architectural masterpiece, including its preservation and restoration. Pre-registration is required. To register, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Bookings should preferably be made 3 weeks in advance.
|January to December|
|Monday||07:30 AM - 05:30 PM|
|Tuesday||07:30 AM - 05:30 PM|
|Wednesday||07:30 AM - 07:30 AM|
|Thursday||07:30 AM - 05:30 PM|
|Friday||07:30 AM - 05:30 PM|
|Saturday||07:30 AM - 05:30 PM|
|Sunday||07:30 AM - 05:30 PM|
|Last Admission||05:20 PM|
Things to carry
Things Not Allowed