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Yueh Hai Ching Temple

Yueh Hai Ching Temple

The Yueh Hai Ching Temple is one of the oldest Chinese temples in Singapore.

Sometimes referred to as the Wak Hai Cheng Bio, this temple is tucked amongst the massive modern skyscrapers within the Central Business District.

Yueh Hai Ching Temple, History, Address & Opening Hours, Singapore

The temple was erected as a reminder of the contributions made by the early Teochew Chinese pioneers, who came to Singapore sometime in 1819. Upon their arrival, the immigrants created a humble wooden shrine to where they would offer prayers to Mazu, the Goddess of the Seas, thanking her for a safe voyage from Guangdong, China to Singapore. For this reason, the temple’s name translates to “Temple of the Calm Sea of the Guangdong People”.

According to reports, a man by the name of Lin Pan constructed a temple in 1826 to replace the makeshift shrine. It eventually served as a social centre as well as a place of worship for the immigrants. After some time, a wealthy merchant named Seah Eu Chin collected funds from the local Teochew community and rebuilt the temple, using some materials imported from China.

Yueh Hai Ching Temple consists of two prayer halls, with one found at each wing. The Tian Hou Gong, or Palace of the Heavenly Empress, is used for praying to Mazu. The Shang Di Gong, or Palace of the Heavenly Emperor, is where the locals worship Xuan Tian Shang Di, known as the Teochew patron deity. The prayer halls have been given the nickname Mah Miu, which translates to Twin Temples because they both look identical.

The temple is designed with the traditional layout found in other Chinese shrines, featuring sheltered courtyards located between the main halls and the entrance. One of its iconic features is the three-dimensional statues on its roof, which portray scenes from China. Mythical creatures are also found in the temple, which are meant to represent strength, posterity, and longevity.

The temple’s roof is adorned with intricate ornaments and carvings of dragons, made using a special technique originating in Guangdong, called the qian ci. Many vibrantly coloured ceramics were also used to create stunning mosaics.

In 2014, the temple was presented with an Award of Merit from the UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. It remains to be an important place of worship for the Singaporean Chinese community, and visitors are welcome to observe the puppet shows that are held at specific festivals.

Yueh Hai Ching Temple is located at 30B Philip Street, Singapore.

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