Saturday, December 29, 2012

One Block of Wonders

I spent a few hours in Little India and found a block that was jam-packed with extraordinary sites.  I decided to start my tour at a Hindu temple, and this is the first one I found along Serangoon Road.  I had the place to myself so I didn't disturb any worshipers with my camera. This is Sri Perumal Temple, one of the oldest temples in Singapore dedicated to Vishnu, and dates from 1855

I left the temple and headed around the corner to Race Course Road. where I found 4 Buddhist temples in one block.  First came the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple, whose front door is flanked by these 2 cool lions :

Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple

This temple is often referred to as the Temple of 1000 Lights, founded in 1927 by a Thai monk called Vutthisara.  The small building is completely dominated by this sitting Buddha; walk around behind him and there is a large reclining Buddha.  There are scenes from the Buddha's life all around the temple.

RIGHT NEXT DOOR is a Chinese Buddhist temple - couldn't find a name, but it had Chinese gods rather than Buddha statues:

AND STRAIGHT ACROSS THE STREET is another Chinese temple:

NEXT to that is a new condo...

NEXT to that is, I think, a Buddhist school:

And NEXT to that, an HDB (Housing Development Board) apartment building:


THEN, the most amazing surprise of the day (maybe even the week).  It started to rain, so I ducked into what I thought was an antique store.  But it was a Chinese tea shop.  As I admired the hundreds of small clay teapots, another customer started chatting with me.  It seems that he has his own tea shop in Chinatown, but comes here to shop and visit with this shop owner.  Of course, they invited me to have tea with them and told me about some tea traditions.  After about half an hour, the owner, who speaks very little English, asked me to help him translate a document about an English teapot written in cursive.  Maybe he asks all his English-speaking customers about this, but it made me feel special.  What a great afternoon!!

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