Tan Si Chong Su Temple


The Tan Si Chong Su Temple in Singapore also known as the "Tan Seng Haw" and Po Chiak Keng is a Chinese temple. Tan Si Chong Su Temple stands on the Magazine road in the River Planning area. The Tan Si Chong Su Temple was established between the years 1876-1878 as the Tan clan's ancestral temple. The Tan Si Chong Su Temple was officially declared as a national monument on 29th November, 1974.

History of the Tan Si Chong Su Temple
The Tan Si Chong Su Temple was constructed in front of the Singapore River in the year 1876 to address the needs of the large Tan clan. The temple stood near a little islet known as the Pulau Saigon on the Singapore River's banks. Tan Beng Swee and Tan Kim Ching, belonging to Singapore's most distinguished Tan families made donations to construct the temple.

Tan Beng Swee's father was Tan Kim Seng, a prosperous businessman and leader of the Chinese community in Singapore. Tan Kim Ching's father was Tan Tock Seng a business person and a philanthropist. The greatest of all Tan Kim Seng's civic projects was planting the first fresh-water lines in Singapore. The Tan Kim Ching temple acted as the Tan clan's ancestral temple.

There is a popular belief among the Chinese that those sharing the same surname have a common ancestral line. The members of the Tan clan can worship their fore-fathers in temples like the Tan Si Chong Su. Here the spirit-tablets or the soul of the members of the Tan clan are venerated and preserved.

There is a main hall where the patron deities are worshipped, an entrance-hall and a back hall to preserve the soul-tablets of prominent members of the Tan clan in the temple's complex. Open courtyards separate all the temple halls.

Tan Kim Tien was the temple's first president. A deed dating back to 28th July ,1880 provide the names of Tan Chew Cha, Tan Mah Arang, Tan Siak Kew, Tan Sim Boh, Tan Cheng Kiat who were the temple's trustees. The Tan Si Chong Su Temple also acted as the assembly room for the members of the Tan clan.

Architecture of the Tan Si Chong Su Temple

The Tan Si Chong Su Temple has a big entrance-hall has 3 colorfully painted double leafed timber doors bordered by granite columns. The walls of the temple are adorned with pictures of Gods, lions and dragons. The prayer-hall lies beyond the entrance-hall known as "Po Chiak Keng" to the devotees. The ancestral-hall which is the central attraction of the temple is to the back of the prayer hall.

The distinctive features of the temple are adopted from the architectural designs of Southern China. Graceful and elegant arched roof-ridge with overturned eaves and granite columns decorated with ornate gable eaves are the prominent features of this architectural design. There are two fiery-dragons flanking on both sides of the temple's main entrance. Circular windows represent eternity and the Door Gods guard the side doors and protect the temple.

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