Earlier today, we attended a wedding at the Central Sikh Gurdrawa. I have grown up in and out of gurudwaras my entire life (Sindhi Hindus, like my family, have established unconventional practices and heritage in the context of their diaspora, including the recitation of the Ardaas, a Sikh prayer, and the Jap Sahib, a Sikh hymn) and it was so moving to finally visit the chief place of worship for Singapore’s 15,000 Sikhs.
The temple boasts a skilful blend of modern and traditional architecture. Most magnificent is the prayer hall, which has a 13-meter wide dome covered with white, grey, and gold mosaic tiles.
The first gurdwara, Sikh Police Gurdwara Sahib at Pearl Hill, was set up in police barracks when Sikhs began to arrive in Singapore in 1881 to form a Sikh Contingent of the Straits Settlements police force, but it soon could not accommodate the growing Sikh community. In 1912, a bungalow was purchased for a new temple at Queen Street; this initiative was also supported by the Sindhi community and the Straits Settlements police force. In 1977, as part of its urban redevelopment program, the government acquired the land on which the Queen Street gurdwara was situated. In return, the Sikh community was provided with an alternative piece of land at 2 Towner Road at the junction with Serangoon Road (where the temple stands today). Construction began in 1984 and was completed in 1986, coinciding with the 518th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak.
I look forward to returning soon and worshipping there once again.