The Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore's oldest Hindu temple. It is an agamic temple, built in the Dravidian style. Located at No. 244 South Bridge Road, in the downtown Chinatown district, the temple serves mainly South Indian Tamil Hindu Singaporeans in the city-state. Due to its architectural and historical significance, the temple has been gazetted a National Monument and is a major tourist attraction.
The focus of this main prayer hall is the central shrine of Mariamman, which is flanked by the shrines of two secondary deities - Rama and Murugan. The main prayer hall is surrounded by a series of free-standing shrines, housed in pavilion like structures with decorated dome roofs, known as 'Vimana'. These are dedicated to the following deities: Durga, Ganesh, Muthularajah - also known as Mathurai Veeran, a rural Tamil deity, Aravan and Draupadi.
The shrine to Draupadi is the second most important in the temple, as she is central to the annual fire walking festival held in this temple. To the left of Draupadi are the five Pandavas from the Mahabharata epic - Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Sahadeva and Nakula. They are presided over by Lord Krishna. Another important element of the temple is the freestanding flagpole. A few days before major festivals or ritual ceremonies, a flag is raised here. The temple compound also contains a Lingam sculpture and Yoni sculpture.
Once every 12 years, in keeping with Hindu tradition, the temple is reconsecrated. The unique annual fire-walking ceremony is held about a week before Deepavali - the Festival of Lights.