After a very lazy morning we checked out of the hotel. The rate for tonight would have been SGD$400!
Sangeet looked up the programmes at the Gurdwara, there was a Sukhmani Sahib Paath starting at 2pm. Sukhmani Sahib is the name given to the set of hymns divided into 24 sections which appear in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Scriptures on ang 262. Each section, which is called an Ashtpadi(asht means 8), consists of 8 hymns per Ashtpadi. The word Sukhmani literally means Peace in your mind. This set of Hymns or Bani is very popular among the Sikhs, who frequently recite it in their places of worship called Gurdwaras and at home. The full recital takes about 90 minutes and is normally undertaken by everyone in the congregation.
Central Sikh Temple
2 Towner Road
T+ 65 6299 3855
F + 65 6296 1921
In 1912, with the assistance of a Sindhi merchant named Wassiamull, a group of Sikhs bought a bungalow with a large compound at 175 Queen Street and turned it into a gurdwara. The gurdwara became known as the Central Sikh Temple when other temples were established. It was also known as the Wadda Gurdwara (‘The Big Temple’).
The temple was reconstructed in 1921. The congregation hall was on the first floor and the kitchen and other facilities on the ground floor. It is the custom for Sikh temples to provide food and lodging to travellers.
In 1937, the government decided to set up a corporate board of trustees for the temple. In 1940, the Queen Street Gurdwara Ordinance was enacted. It provided for a board of trustees named the Queen Street Gurdwara Board of Trustees (Incorporated) made up of equal numbers of nominees from the Majha, Malwa and Doabha factions of the congregation.
In 1925, rivalry for leadership amongst the factions led them to form their own gurdwaras. Today, these gurdwaras are registered as societies and only two Sikh temples are recognised as public temples. The Central Sikh Temple remains the main temple for all Sikhs. The Silat Road temple which is also managed by the Central Sikh Temple is the other recognised public temple.
In 1959, plans for a new temple and the move away from Queen Street to a new site in Newton were formed. There were factions in the congregation that preferred to remain in Queen Street. An adjoining plot of land with nine houses on it was purchased for $100,000. The plans for the new temple here were approved by the Government in 1963. However, it was never built due to internal disagreement.
In 1976, the land adjoining the temple site was acquired by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. A year later, the land on which the temple stood was acquired. In December 1979, the temple was vacated and was temporarily housed in the former Bukit Ho Swee Community Centre at Seng Poh Road.
Plans for a new temple in Towner Road were conceived in 1983. Its construction began in 1984 and was completed in April 1986. The Central Sikh Temple at Towner Road was officially opened in November that year.
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Central Gurdwara, Singapore
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Sukhmani Sahib Paath
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Kirtan, Central Gurdwara
We decided to take the taxi, which are fairly cheap in Singapore, plus we were having a lazy day!
The Gurdwara is very beautiful and the Paath was recited with love.
Afterwards we took the MRT back from Boon Keng MRT to Orchard.
The Mass Rapid Transit or MRT is a rapid transit system forming the major component of the railway system in Singapore, spanning the entire city-state. The initial section of the MRT, between Yio Chu Kang and Toa Payoh, opened in 1987, making it the second-oldest metro system in Southeast Asia, after Manila’s LRT System. The network has since grown rapidly in accordance with Singapore’s aim of developing a comprehensive rail network as the backbone of the public transport system in Singapore, with an average daily ridership of 2.406 million in 2011, approximately 71% of the bus network’s 3.385 million in the same period.
The MRT network has 102 stations with 148.9 km (92.52 mi) of lines in operation, on standard gauge. The lines are built by the Land Transport Authority, a statutory board of the Government of Singapore, which allocates operating concessions to the profit-based corporations, SMRT Corporation and SBS Transit. These operators also run bus and taxi services, thus facilitating full integration of public transport services. The MRT is complemented by a small number of regional Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems in Bukit Panjang, Sengkang and Punggol that link MRT stations with HDB public housing estates. Services operate from about 5:30 am and usually end before 1 a.m. daily with intervals of approximately three to eight minutes, and services extended during festive periods such as Chinese New Year.
Fantastic street decorations
Everybody in the MRT was glued to their phones. I would have been but could not log onto the free wifi!
The MRT journey costs SGD$2.40, you get a plastic ticket:
Once you start your journey you swipe the plastic ticket against the entry onto platform machine and it deducts SGD$1.40. Once you have completed your journey you deposit the ticket and it gives you a SGD$1.00 refund. Such a fantastic idea.
Orchard Road is lit up elaborately nearer the end of every year for the Christmas festive season.
Orchard Road is a 2.2 kilometre-long street that is the retail and entertainment hub of Singapore. It is a major tourist attraction, in addition to being the most popular shopping enclave in the city-state. Often, the surrounding area is known simply as Orchard, partly because the MRT station that serves the vicinity is named Orchard.
The Orchard Planning Area is one of 55 urban planning areas as specified by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and is a commercial district. It is part of the Central Region, and Singapore’s central business district, the Central Area.
Orchard Road underwent a $40 million revamp in 2009, with the addition of new street lamps, planter boxes, urban green rooms, street tiling and flower totem poles, which have since been removed.
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Orchard Road has the well known designer brands also the high street shops, it is even got a Marks & Spencer! Singapore is just a fabulous place I could easily live here, after America!!
We walked around the Mall, popped into a few shops and tried to find the exit…..once the malls have you inside it is hard getting out. It is a labyrinth which you just have to negotiate!
After successfully getting outside and back onto Orchard Road we immediately felt the heat, 32 degrees C and a humidity of 60%!
We walked back to the hotel to collect our backpacks and go to the YHA I had booked earlier in the day.
On the way we saw people sat on the street having food.
Some had banquets, I was tempted to join in!
10A Upper Wilkie Rd
T: +65 6438 5588
F: +65 6339 6008
On the way to the hostel, which was again by taxi, Sangeet noticed a Gurdwara two houses away! What a fantastic blessing, to be so close to the Gurdwara.
Once we checked in and dropped off the bags, we walked over to the Gurdwara.
Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha
90/92 Wilkie Road,
T: +65 6337 6301
F +65 6337 5160
Gurdwara Sahib Sri Guru Singh Sabha is one of the oldest Sikh institutions in Singapore established by the early immigrant Sikh community in 1918.
The first building was located close to the old Central Sikh Temple at Queens Street. The congregation used rented premises until the property at 90 Wilkie Road was acquired in 1932. Extensive structural changes were made to prepare the congregational hall on the first floor. In 1968 an adjoining plot of land was purchased for the construction of an entirely new premises. Construction on this new building began in 1978 and was completed in 1980. The new gurdwara was declared officially opened in 1984. The old premises was converted into a ‘jangh ghar’ where receptions for wedding events were held for a short period. This use for the old building was discontinued and has since been converted to a Gurmat Parchar Centre for use by the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Youth Wing for Sikhi parchar and as accomodations for residential camps (samelans) during schools holidays.
Guess who’s coming to town:
Afterwards we decided to have a wander to Little India, which is about twenty minutes walk. In Singapore it has been very very clean, peaceful, quiet, superb. As soon as you ‘enter’ Little India you see a warning sign “dengue fever alert”. The area is exactly like India. Cars beeping, massive crowds, very dirty streets….I am not surprised there is a dengue fever alert. This was a total assault on my senses. I hated the place. Sangeet wants to add on India to this trip, I am not sure I could handle it! On entering Little India I saw a line of mice moving out, even they were looking for a better area to live!!!
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