The Temple on “Bay Water” Street

30 Jan 2014                   

Remember the lovely park, Telok Ayer Green, I shared with all you water lovers some time back? Well, someone pointed out to me that the temple right beside it, and the very street it’s on, has roots tracing back to water too!

Early Chinese immigrants would have disembarked on to what we know today as Telok Ayer Street. These Chinese immigrants would then go to temples to give thanks for their safe passage across treacherous seas as they made their way from China in search of a better life. One such temple would be Singapore’s oldest Hokkien temple, Thian Hock Keng Temple, which was completed in 1842. Thian Hock Keng Temple, or “Temple of Heavenly Bliss”, is dedicated to Mazu, a goddess whom Taoists believe to be the protector of seamen.


It’s hard to believe the spot I was standing at when I took this picture of Thian Hock Keng Temple was a beach less than two centuries ago.

Thian Hock Keng Temple would face the sea until the land was reclaimed to form what is, today, the bustling Marina Bay Financial Centre. It’s hard to imagine how, less than 200 years ago, the skyscrapers that cascade over us as we stroll along Shenton Way and Anson Road would have been nothing but untouched ocean.

Today, Thian Hock Keng Temple faces a boring office tower, though tourists still flock from around the globe to awe at its beautiful design and intricate architecture. Have you visited Thian Hock Keng Temple recently? Or perhaps took a nice stroll down Telok Ayer Street?

By Jax Sparrow


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