The devotees and well-wishers started streaming in as early as 7am on Jan 26 to witness the Maha Kumbhabishegam (consecration ceremony) of the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple at Ceylon Road.
The 10,000-strong crowd watched as flowers were thrown and the priest chanted mantras at the ceremony, held every 12 years to homogenise, synergise and unite the mystic powers of the deity, Lord Vinayagar - the elephant-headed god.
The 120-year-old temple, one of Singapore's oldest, has just had a $4 million makeover. The temple now has a modern, fully- automated kitchen, apart from improvments to the traditional sculptures.
Still to come is a 10m-tall statue of Lord Vinayagar, for which the management is awaiting official approval to erect at a cost of $1.5 million.
The crowd included former president S.R. Nathan, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin and Marine Parade GRC MP Fatimah Lateef. Also present was Sanjana, who was a student at the nearby Tanjong Katong Girls' School.
She said: "Taking part in this ceremony is very auspicious for me as I am waiting for the results of which junior college I will be going to."
Ceylon, Marshall and Fowlie roads were closed to the public from 6am to about 3pm. Barricades were set up and security guards were on hand to manage the people who had gathered.
Mr Visu Duraisamy, 29, who attended the ceremony with his wife, was impressed with the way the crowd was handled. "Umbrellas were distributed to those who were standing in the crowd," he said.
Temple volunteers also handed out buttermilk, bandung and water to those waiting for their turn to enter the temple.
Mr Goh, who was the guest of honour, said on Facebook that neighbouring residents need to be understanding about "some inconveniences".
"There will be daily chanting, beating of drums and blowing of trumpets. More traffic will crowd the narrow roads. The temple officials have taken steps to mitigate noise and manage traffic," he said. "This is a good example of tolerance and harmony when living cheek by jowl," he added.
Wilson Silas David is a journalist with Tamil Murasu.
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