SINGAPORE - The 120-year-old Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple in Ceylon Road, a national monument, has been modernised in a big way.
The renovation, costing $4 million, is to mark the temple's Maha Kumbhabishegam (consecration ceremony) on Jan 26.
The guest of honour will be Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who also graced the temple's last consecration ceremony in 2003 when he was Singapore's prime minister.
Other notable attendees will include Singapore's former president S.R. Nathan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam, Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin and Marine Parade GRC MP Fatimah Lateef.
The Kumbhabishegam, held every 12 years, is a ritual that is believed to homogenise, synergise and unite the mystic powers of the deity, Lord Vinayagar - the elephant-headed god.
In addition to the improvements to the traditional sculptures, the temple has also got a modern, fully-automated kitchen costing $500,000.
Said the temple's president Dr R. Theyvendran: "The upgrading of the temple and the kitchen modernisation has been attuned to the Government's current call for productivity. Our automated kitchen within a traditional temple setting raises productivity significantly by reducing manpower and taking a much shorter time in preparing food for devotees. It will also provide faster service of the freshly-cooked warm food to them."
Prior to the Kumbhabishegam, there are two other important events. On Jan 23 from 6.30 to 10.30am, the ceremony to place gold and gemstones will take place. And on Jan 24 from 7am to 9pm there will be oil annoinment. The public can take part in these events.
The Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple is one of Singapore's oldest Hindu temples. The latest upgrading also includes improvements to the roof, lighting and plumbing systems and the temple entrance.
The temple has been retro-fitted with the use of energy-saving LED lighting that will help to cut utility costs and enhance the general aesthetics of the prayer area.
Most of the statues on the main tower (raja gopurum), which were moved for the upgrading project, have been reinstated and re-painted.
Subject to approval from the authorities, the temple committee plans to set up a 32-foot tall statue of Lord Vinayagar - the tallest in Asia outside India - made out of a single piece of rock.
To be built at a cost of $1.5 million in the next phase of works, it is expected to be completed by early 2016.
The statue, which will feature Lord Vinayagar sitting on a lotus flower with a water fountain base, will be a historic landmark at the temple and a focal point for prayer and spiritual resonance