Sri Mariamman Temple

Sri Mariamman Temple dates back to 1827 and is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore.

Beneath the imposing gopura are huge wooden doors. Their massive size is quite deliberate, designed to remind the worshippers of their insignificance in comparison to the divine.

Devotees believe that ringing the bells on the doors will bring good luck.

It’s located in Chinatown and is dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, known for her power to cure illnesses and diseases.

Two nearby streets got their names because of this temple: Temple Street (for obvious reasons) and Pagoda Street, because of the shape of the temple’s gopura.

Now a national monument, much of the present structure is believed to have been built in 1862-1863 by Indian craftsmen.

Highly ornate and colourful ceiling paints abound in the temple. Each one is an eye-catching delight.

China town

Singapore’s Chinatown is known as Niu che shui which literally means ‘ox car water’

This is due to the fact that Chinatown’s water supply was principally transported by animal-driven carts in the 19th century.

We’ve entered Chinatown via Pagoda street, a hectic, shop and restaurant lined thoroughfare.

Pagoda street takes its name from the Sri Mariamman Temple that we’ll visit later. During the 1850s and 1880s, the street was one of the centres of slave traffic

Now however it’s a place to browse for souvenirs, eat and hunt for wall art.

By the 1950s, the shophouses here were mainly involved in retail trade and services.

The architecture of the shophouses on Pagoda Street and other parts of Chinatown originates from the Raffles Town Plan of 1822.

This stipulated the material that should be used to build the shophouses as well as the need to have covered walkways of five-foot width (hence known as “five-foot ways”.

Colourful chaos

One of my favourite things to do in a new city is just to mooch around and soak up the sights.

In Singapore’s Little India district you are besieged by sights, sounds, smells and colours.

From gorgeous floral garlands for use in temples, weddings and special occasions to piles of fresh, mouth watering produce.

My favourite exotic fruit – the rambutan – is to be found piled high with its prickly little exterior hiding a small, white fruit.

As well as fruit and flowers you can rifle through endless lovely handicrafts from embroidered umbrellas to wooden carvings – fancy a tiger dear . . .?

Even now my mouth waters at the endless selection of fruit juices on offer here.

From honey lemon to sugarcane juice, papaya to lychee, there’s a colourful option for everyone!

Finally before we head off I spot a bucket full of stunning lotus blossoms.

These sculptural blossoms can often be found gracing temples as offerings to deities.

The Lotus flower is regarded in many different cultures, especially in eastern religions, as a symbol of purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth.

Its characteristics are a perfect analogy for the human condition – even when its roots are in the dirtiest waters, the Lotus produces the most beautiful flower.

Wall art

If like me you’re reduced to a snap happy frenzy at the sight of some colourful wall art then you’ll be in seventh heaven in Singapore.

We stumbled across these spectacular examples in Little India and naturally I had to spend a while taking some snaps!

These joy filled images are Kathaka by Didier Mathieu aka Jaba – the name is a reference to a type of Indian dance.

You can find them at 68 Serangoon Road, at the junction with Upper Dickson Road

And just across the road is a mural by Eunice Lim called Book-a-Meeting for Artwalk Little India 2018 which is an extension of the 30-year old Siyamala bookstore it is connected to.

I enjoy the cheeky cow seemingly taking a look at the sombre hubby!!!

Sri Veeramakaliamman

Singapore is home to endless architectural and cultural delights and the area known as Little India is no exception.

We’re heading to one of the most historic, colourful temples in the area – Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.

The temple, found onSerangoon Road is one of the oldest temples in Singapore.

The incredibly ornate entrance is known as a Rajagopuram – a tall pyramidal tower built at the main entrance to a Hindu temple.

Built by Indian pioneers who came to work and live here the temple was the first in the serangoon area and became a focus of early Indian Social Cultural activities there.

From the incredibly ornate facade to the colourful interior, the temple is a riot of celebration and human interactions.

One of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temples the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is dedicated to the goddess and destroyer of evil, Kali – or Sri Veeramakaliamman.

Outside in the courtyard, a cornucopia of deities can be found in inglenooks, around the roofline and in every conceivable colour.

Each figure represents a particular deity, that offers a different blessing to their devotees.

Incredibly the images above are actually statues not paintings – the level of detail is incredible.

Singapore sensory overload

I’m so far behind with my travel blog that I’m only just starting on the first trip of 2019!!

As it was a ‘big’ birthday year I got to chose where we headed for our long haul adventure – and it just had to be back to Vietnam. The place that set off my love affair with Asia way back in 2008.

We also decided to stop over in Singapore for a few days too. So let’s dive headfirst into these amazing places.

We stayed in the lovely Summer View hotel that was ideally placed to explore this hectic city.

There’s lots of fascinating districts in Singapore including Arab street and the colourful Little India district which is where I dragged the hubby first!

From multi-coloured shutter and incredible street art, to buildings so candy coloured that you want to nibble them, this area is amazing to just wander round and soak up the sights.

The incredible House of Tan Teng Niah is one such incredible rainbow hued sight.

The house was built in 1900 and belonged to Tan Teng Niah, a Chinese merchant who made sweets and sold them in stores along nearby Serangoon Road.

Gorgeous isn’t it! You can find this little gem by taking the MRT to Little India Station, taking exit E and following the snap happy tourists 🙂

Every wall and building is a colour clashing dream – even the toilet below is a pastel coloured delight!

Last looks

Our final day in Paris ends in style at the beautiful Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris.

Commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica and often simply Sacré-Cœur.

The basilica was designed by Paul Abadie. Construction began in 1875 and was completed in 1914. The basilica was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919

From the magnificence of the pearly basilica domes to the more earthy delights of the capital streets.

From thoughts on the prevalence of social media to the creative urge, the paste-ups cover a whole range of topics!

The final trip of our first ever visit to Paris ends in a slightly more morbid setting . . .

The Montparnasse Cemetery in the 14th arrondissement of Paris is the second largest operating cemetery of the French capital.

The 45 acre landscaped funeral park is like an open-air museum as many graves have been listed as Historic Monuments.

It is the final resting place of many famous, world renowned artists. These include Serge Gainsbourg, Samuel Beckett, Jean Paul Satre and Simone De Beauvoir – the only ones we managed to find!