Hong San See

Built between 1908 and 1913: The Hong San See temple

The Hong San See temple, built between 1908 and 1913, is a significant religious and cultural landmark in singapore. It was established by the Hokkien community, one of the major Chinese dialect groups in the country. The temple’s name, which means “Temple on Phoenix Hill” in Chinese, reflects its location on a hill overlooking the sea.

The temple is dedicated to Guang Ze Zun Wang, a deity revered for his protection and blessings. Throughout its history, the Hong San See temple has served as a place of worship, spiritual guidance, and community gathering for the Hokkien community and other devotees.

Superbly restored: A treasure of Chinese temple architecture

The Hong San See temple stands as a superbly restored example of southern Chinese-style temple architecture. Despite being surrounded by modern high-rise buildings, the temple has retained its original form and charm, making it a must-visit attraction for locals and tourists alike.

The temple’s preservation showcases its axial planning, courtyards, walled enclosures, and beam-frame structure, all of which are traditional features of southern Chinese temple architecture. However, it is the exceptional carpentry that truly sets it apart. The temple’s roof is a masterpiece, constructed entirely without nails, demonstrating the skill and craftsmanship of the builders.

Visitors to the Hong San See temple can marvel at the intricate details and decorations that adorn its interior and exterior. The granite columns, carved with dragons, peonies, magpies, and phoenixes, are a testament to the exquisite craftsmanship of the artisans who worked on the temple. Additionally, the temple features chien nien art, which involves creating figures from porcelain, as well as elaborate plaster relief work on the eaves and roof.

Recognizing its historical and cultural significance, the Hong San See temple was gazetted as a national monument in 1978. To ensure its preservation for future generations, an extensive renovation project was undertaken from 2006 to 2010. Technical consultants and craftsmen from China were brought in to restore the temple to its former glory.

The restoration efforts were highly successful, and the Hong San See temple became the first building in Singapore to receive the Award of Excellence in the 2010 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. This recognition further solidified the temple’s status as a significant cultural and architectural treasure.

Dancing dragons and phoenixes: A visual feast

One of the highlights of the Hong San See temple is its intricate and ornate decorations. Visitors will be captivated by the detailed carvings of dragons, peonies, magpies, and phoenixes on the granite columns. These mythical creatures symbolize strength, prosperity, and good fortune in Chinese culture.

The temple also showcases the art of chien nien, where figures are meticulously created using porcelain. This delicate and intricate art form adds another layer of beauty and cultural significance to the temple.

As visitors explore the temple, they will be mesmerized by the elaborate plaster relief work on the eaves and roof. Particularly noteworthy are the two dragons prancing with a pearl, a symbol of power and wisdom in Chinese mythology.

Overall, the Hong San See temple offers a visual feast for those who appreciate art, craftsmanship, and cultural heritage. Its beautifully restored architecture and intricate decorations provide a glimpse into the rich history and traditions of the Hokkien community in Singapore.

Visiting the Hong San See temple is not only an opportunity to admire its beauty but also a chance to immerse oneself in the spiritual and cultural practices of the Hokkien community. The temple hosts various religious ceremonies and festivals throughout the year, providing visitors with a unique insight into the vibrant traditions and beliefs of the community.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or someone seeking a deeper understanding of Singapore’s multicultural heritage, a visit to the Hong San See temple is a must. It is a place where past and present converge, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Singapore’s diverse cultural landscape.

Address And Location:

31 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 238975

  • Operating Hours

    Daily 8am-6pm

  • 31 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 238975

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