Thian Hock Keng Temple

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Thian Hock Keng Temple Honors the Goddess of the Sea
Built between 1839 and 1842, Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest Hokkien temple in Singapore. Built on the site of an earlier primitive shrine created by Chinese sailors grateful to have survived the journey to Singapore (and needing blessing for the next voyage), it’s dedicated to the Chinese Goddess of the Sea, an important deity to honor considering how treacherous ocean travel could be in those days. The Goddess of Mercy and Confucius are also worshipped there. The gilded temple’s ceiling murals, statues, and red and black lacquer are striking and so is the fact that not a single nail was used in its construction — it’s supported entirely by iron and wooden pillars. In the old days, before Singapore’s wave of land reclamation, the shoreline came right up to Telok Ayer Street; in fact the low granite wall just in front of the entrance was originally put in place to keep the sea water out at high tide.
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