The Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple is a historical Buddhist temple dedicated to the worship of the Chinese goddess of mercy, Guan Yin.
It’s one of the oldest temples in Singapore, having been built back in 1884 and evident in its traditional 19th-century courtyard design.
Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, Opening Hours & Address, Singapore
Although initially built to provide devotees of Guan Yin a place of worship, it features other deities including Ta Ma Tan Shith, known as the leader of the 6 Buddhist patriarchs. Another deity named Hua Tuo is found here as well; he is the Chinese patron saint of medicine and a doctor who served during the Han dynasty.
The temple underwent numerous changes and renovations, with the first restoration occurring in 1895. It served as a shelter to many during the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945. In the late 1970s, the temple was demolished then reconstructed by Tay and Yeo Architects in 1982. By this time the temple had doubled its original size. In 2001, the National Heritage Board declared it a historical monument.
After undergoing many restorations, the current temple’s design and positioning of deities have changed. Today, the primary deities are placed in a location different from its original style, although the other deities have maintained their initial setting. Its exterior features two roofs at varying heights and visitors enter through a gateway bordered by two smaller gates. Yellow swastikas are found on the trimmings of the roofs, while the ridges are adorned by curves feature calligraphy that represents good luck.
Unlike many other Chinese temples, this one no longer allows incense or candle burning in the main temple hall; instead, offerings are placed outside the temple hall as a means of inhibiting soot from accumulating in the ceiling.
The Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple is also renowned for its philanthropic work because they have contributed to many educational and health projects in the past. Some of the organisations they have helped with include the Association of Women and for Action and Research, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Development Fund, and the National Kidney Foundation.
The Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple is located at 178 Waterloo Street in Singapore. It’s open from 6am to 6:30pm daily.