Singapore

Hougang Heritage Trail features historic places of worship

Along a 3km stretch of Upper Serangoon Road are three religious institutions that have stood the test of time.

The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Hougang Tou Mu Kung and Haji Yusoff Mosque have a combined age of almost four centuries, with the church and the temple gazetted as national monuments. The road itself is almost 200 years old.

These places of worship are among 18 sites on the National Heritage Board's (NHB) latest self-guided trail - the Hougang Heritage Trail - that was unveiled yesterday.

The trail, the NHB's 20th, follows after the heartland trail in Pasir Ris launched last December. The board had said then that it planned to launch more of such heartland trails to bring the nation's heritage to the doorsteps of Singaporeans.

With stories and photos from 28 individuals familiar with Hougang, this new trail has the highest number of community contributions of all NHB trails. Others have about 10 to 20 community contributions.

Three thematic routes through Hougang cater to varying interests.

The first takes visitors along a stretch of Upper Serangoon Road, highlighting eight landmarks including religious sites and old businesses.

Those keen to find out more about community groups such as charitable halls and clan associations can go on the Institutions Of Service route, which takes visitors to six sites.

Finally, those interested in building design will enjoy the Architectural Gems route, which features seven built heritage sites along the trail.

Heritage buffs can expect three more trails to be launched next year.

The Hougang Heritage Trail's companion guide and map are available in four languages, and can be downloaded from NHB's heritage portal, Roots.sg, while hard copies are available at the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (Hougang Office), as well as community clubs and centres islandwide. - THE STRAITS TIMES


HOUGANG TOU MU KUNG

779A Upper Serangoon Road

  • The temple began as a shrine in Lim Loh village at Au Kang fourth milestone in 1902 and is the oldest temple in Singapore dedicated to the Nine Emperor Gods.
  • Its current building was built in 1921 in a traditional Hokkien architectural style.

CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

1259 Upper Serangoon Road

  • The church is the oldest place of worship in the area, and it started in an attap structure erected in 1853 that was later rebuilt in brick.
  • In 1901, the present-day neo-Gothic church building was constructed.
  • Currently undergoing restoration.

THE SERANGOON KHIUNG JAI CO-VILLAGERS ASSOCIATION

102 Lorong Ah Soo

  • The Hainanese clan association bought its current site in 1979 but was officially registered in 1958.
  • It served members of the Hainanese community living in Lorong Ah Soo.

RAMAKRISHNA MISSION

179 Bartley Road

  • The mission in Singapore was established in 1897 by Swami Vivekananda and focuses on fostering spiritual beliefs and carrying out social service programmes.
  • The plot of land in Bartley Road was purchased in 1941. Soon after, the mission built a home to house destitute boys affected by World War II.
  • It also built a temple in 1954, modelled after the mission's main temple in West Bengal.
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