Buddha Tooth Relic Temple And Museum Overview

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is a holy and a very pious site among the locals. In addition to the temple, the premises also contain a museum housing numerous artifacts of the past. Inside the temple lies a huge sculpture of Buddha surrounded by several small sculptures which awe many photography enthusiasts.

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum (BTRTM) is one of the most prominent religious and cultural sites in Singapore and a major tourist attraction in Singapore. The strikingly marvelous structure of the temple opened its gate for public visit in 2007 and since then its number of visitors every year is on the rise.

The Tang style architecture of the temple with shades of brilliant red, green, and gold on the exterior never fails to amaze the first time or even regular visitors. Whether you're exploring on your own or with a guided Singapore tour package, the mild aroma of incense candles and the tinkles of the chimes will soothe your senses and drift you to a different world as you pass the main entrance of the temple.

The four-storied temple is divided into different levels each level dedicated to a different aspect of Lord Buddha. The walls of the Universal Wisdom Hall are adorned with Buddha figurines each with a particular name and showing specific mudra (hand symbol).

The cynosure of attraction in the BTRTM is the tooth relic of Gautama Buddha enshrined on a giant stupa made of 402 Kg of gold where Buddhist monks perform daily rituals. It is open for public viewing only twice a day from a certain distance.

The rooftop garden atop the fourth floor abounds rare kind of trees and shrubs making it a tranquil haven for visitors to rest and meditate in tranquility. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple also boasts of housing the Vairocana Buddha Prayer Wheel, which is the largest prayer wheel of the world.

Though, primarily an institution for promoting Buddhist philosophy, BTRTM is also known for its dedicated welfare service to the underprivileged section of the society through various activities.

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• Situated in Chinatown, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum tells stories of Buddhist culture and tradition over thousands of years old.
• The temple was built in 2007, and it gets its name from Buddha's left canine tooth, recovered from his funeral pyre in Kushinagar
• This four-storey-high temple is a beautiful complex comprising opulent temples, ornate pagodas, and an infinite amount of religious icons.
• There is a Chinese theater in the temple's basement, where concerts, workshops, and shows are held regularly. You'll find a meditation space and an orchid-filled garden in the rooftop area with an ornately designed prayer wheel and pagodas at each cardinal point.
• This relic is located in a massive three hundred and twenty kilograms, solid gold stupa, sitting in a fourth-floor room. The highlight of the temple lies in its architecture and design, which replicates the architecture of the Tang Dynasty and the Buddhist Mandala.

How To Reach

The best way of covering the distance between your destination and Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is by taking an MRT from a nearby station. Once you aight an MRT, you can take a ticket to Chinatown Station. Once you reach the station, you will be required to walk for another 5 minutes to finally reach the temple.

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Best Time To Visit

The best time to plan a visit to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is during the morning hours when the crowd is less. This is the time when the sunlight is least as well, hence you can explore the whole temple without much crowd.

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Other Essential Information

Here is the list of activities in Temple

A number of services are provided by the monks of the Tooth Relic Temple that uphold the Buddhist philosophy of compassion, fraternity and service to mankind. If you are visiting during the service timings at the temple you can witness the various community services provided by the Buddhist monks of the temple:

a. Kreta Ayer Activities: The temple conducts community activities for underprivileged residents in the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Constituency. The temple authorities in collaboration with the Kreta Ayer Seniors Activity Centre and Citizens Consultative Committee provide medical assistance and celebrate Chinese New Year for the residents of the constituency.

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b. Ceremonial activities: The daily service of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum starts at 7 AM with the opening of the Mountain Gate. From 9AM-4: 30 PM there is the Great Sutra of Perfection of Wisdom Group Practice, at 6:15 PM the closing ceremony begins with drum, bell, and board ritual and at 7 PM the Mountain Gate closes for the day.

c. Other services: During the months between April-August, there is group practice for Great Sutra of Perfection of Wisdom and during the month of July Emperor Liang Group Practice and Offering to Pretas are performed.

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Places to visit near Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

Singapore is a city which never disappoints its visitors by the number of exciting places to ramble through and explore its rich heritage and culture. Apart from the fabled Tooth Relic Temple, there are many other sites in its neighbourhood that are worth your visit. A rundown of the highly recommended places near the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is given below:

a. Singapore City Gallery- Located beside the Maxwell Food Centre about 0.2 Km from the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the 3 storied Singapore City Gallery is the essence of the bustling city of Singapore. The chief attraction is a massive replica of the city with its walkways, skyscrapers, historical buildings, etc. which gives you a bird’s eye view of the streetscapes of Singapore.

b. Sri Mariamman TempleThis is also the oldest Hindu temple of Singapore which is located about 0.2 Km from the Tooth Relic Temple. The annual fire walking ceremony is the most crowd-pulling event of the temple which is held during October-November. There is no entry fee but taking photographs may be chargeable.

c. Chinatown Heritage Centre- The three thoughtfully restored shopping outlets at Pagoda Street located 0.2 Km away from the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum brings back vivacious memories of the developing years of Singapore as a global financial centre through an onerous journey. It is the only place in Singapore which has restored the original interiors of the shophouse tenants of the 50s to render a real glimpse of Chinatown’s early settlement to the visitors.

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d. Drama Box- It is a great amusement hangout for theatre lovers who are interested to know about the culture and social history of Chinatown through documentaries. Drama Box was founded in 1990 and is now a member of the Singapore Chinese Language Theatre Alliance. The non-profit company is located 0.2 Km from the Buddha Tooth Relic Museum.

e. Chan Ngee- The three-generation old curio shop located about 0.2 Km from the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is a sought-after shopping halt for Oriental antique lovers. Across the 5000 sq. ft. area of the Singapore City Gallery you can find collectables made from cane, wood and porcelain, tea set made from China Clay, paintings, etc. The Gallery also hosts cultural events at Singapore ChinaTown.

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Tips for Visiting Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

A few things to remember before you visit one of the most highlighted attractions of Singapore

- As you are entering a temple make sure you are in proper attire which reflects your respect to the local culture of the place. Your legs and shoulders should be covered. In case you are not dressed accordingly, you can borrow wraps at the entrance of the temple.

- Pets are not allowed inside the temple premises.

- Vegetarian food is served at the dining hall of the temple. No outside food is allowed.

- On New Year's Day, a special event is held in the Buddha Relic Tooth Temple. Don't forget to watch the event if you are travelling to Singapore at that time.

- Maintain discipline and silence during your visit to the temple.

- Do not touch any of the things on display.

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Open Today
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Normal Timings:
09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Point of Interest for Buddha Tooth Relic Temple And Museum
Sitting at the Hidden Balcony

Sitting at the Hidden Balcony

In between the 1st and 2nd floors lays a mezzanine floor which is often mistaken as a balcony and is the most underrated area of the temple. Sitting here you can get a wide-angle view of the massive 15 ft. Buddha statue below.

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Spend Tranquil Moments at the Roof Garden

Spend Tranquil Moments at the Roof Garden

After visiting the different floors of the temple, you can sit on the roof garden and relax for a while in the tranquil surroundings. The Giant Wheel in the garden is one of the main attractions to see in the temple.

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Visit Sacred Relic Chambers

Visit Sacred Relic Chambers

The 3rd floor of the museum is a treasure trove of various figurines of The Buddha and artifacts donated by various artists. Also, this floor houses the preserved relics of Gautama Buddha including his nose, brain, etc.

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Explore Marvels at Different Floors

Explore Marvels at Different Floors

On the 1st floor you can marvel at the hundreds of Buddha effigies each built by an individual artist. On the 2nd floor, there are BTRTM History Gallery, Aranya Reference Library and Aranya Buddhist Culture Shop. The 3rd-floor houses various artefacts of Buddhist culture and the 4th floor which is also the most highlighted section of the Buddha Tooth Relic retains the legendary sacred tooth of Gautama Buddha. The Sacred Light Hall of this floor is visited by devotees for daily prayers.

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Enjoy Austere Buddhist meal in the temple

Enjoy Austere Buddhist meal in the temple

If you are visiting the temple during lunch hours, you can enjoy a simple vegetarian meal in the dining hall at the basement. The meal is served to everyone free of cost.

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Enter into Dragons Hall

Enter into Dragons Hall

Your exploration of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple will start at the Hundred Dragons Hall, which is located in the main hall on the ground floor of the temple. Feel awe-struck looking at the grandeur of the double height Hundred Dragon with a ceiling height of 27 feet to accommodate the 15-feet tall Buddha Maitreya statue. Marvel in the interior of the hall which has been decorated in the style of the Buddhist temples of the Tang Dynasty.

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Visit the Universal Wisdom Hall

Visit the Universal Wisdom Hall

Walking past the Hundred Dragons Hall on the ground floor, you will reach the Universal Wisdom Hall. This is the place where you will get the chance to admire the beautifully hand carved Bodhisattva Cintamani Chakra Avalokiteshvara of the Tang period, seated uplifted on an intricate lotus throne.

Behind the structure are the hand embroideries of the Heart Stra and an interpretation of lotus swaying in the breeze. On the sides of the hall, you will find 8 zodiac protectors, which are surrounded by small statues of Bodhisattva Cintamani Chakra Avalokiteshvara for worship.

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Check out the Dharma Hall

Check out the Dharma Hall

Next, you will go to the mezzanine floor where you will find the Dharma Hall with both sides having a display of both local as well as overseas eminent monks, which has been exhibited in the Eminent Sangha Museum.In the middle of the hall is the statue of the compassionate South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. This hall is the place where the Buddhist ceremonies are performed. 

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Explore Ancestral Memorial Hall

Explore Ancestral Memorial Hall

At the end of the mezzanine floor is a quiet chamber which is known as the Ancestral Memorial Hall. This hall has a statue of the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha statue with several ancestral tablets surrounding the statue. 

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Discover the Aranya Hall

Discover the Aranya Hall

Ascend to the second floor of the temple and museum to discover the Aranya Hall, a spacious room where Buddhism and Meditation classes are held. You can attend these classes to know more about Buddhism. You can also view the BTRTM's collection of various Buddhist figurines and artifacts near the Aranya Hall. Proceed towards the end of the hall to enter the Aranya Sutra Chamber, where you will find six hundred fascicles of the Maha Prajnaparamita Sutra. Admire the impressive Bodhisattva Manjusri, known to manifest and inspire wisdom, along with his sixteen Prajna Guardians.

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Visit Samanthabhadra Hall

Visit Samanthabhadra Hall

Climb to the third floor of the temple to take a look at the striking display of Buddhist artifacts in the Buddhas of the World Museum. Move further in to reach the Sutra Chamber and be enchanted looking at the delicate statue carving of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra giving blessings to devotees progressing along the Path. The chamber also has statues of ten female Rakshasas, who are the guards of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra.

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Buddha’s Tooth Relic Stupa

Buddha’s Tooth Relic Stupa

Move to the fourth storey where the golden Sacred Buddha's Tooth Relic Stupa holds the center position of theInner Chamber hall. Look above the Stupa to find the beautiful painting Vairocana Mandala with the carvings of thirty-six flying dragons under it. Look at the ceiling to admire the gilt flower lamps and a treasure net. Look down to the floor below to see the golden tiles where the Stupa rests, protected by 20 Heavenly Devas.

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Explore the Roof

Explore the Roof

Finally, climb up onto the roof using one of the four corner staircases and reach one of the four small pavilions. Feel enchanted looking at one of the Five Buddhas of the Cardinal Points. Look towards the center of the roof to see the awe-inspiring large Vairocana Buddha Prayer Whee housed inside the tall and huge Ten Thousand Buddhas Pagoda. Notice other pavilions having their own Buddhas of the Cardinal Points.

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Buddha Tooth Relic Temple And Museum FAQs

What is relic behind the name of the temple?

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum has got its name after the sacred tooth relic housed inside the temple which is the main attraction of the temple. It is believed that the left canine tooth of the real Gautama Buddha was recovered from his funeral pyre at Kushinagar in India and enshrined in the Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore.

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How long does it typically take to cover the entire museum?

It takes about 45 minutes to watch the major attractions of the temple. But if you are on a private tour and want to soak up the serenity of the atmosphere, take photos, watch the relics minutely or spend some time worshipping the presiding idol of the temple, it may take about an hour or two. This also includes a break of about 20 minutes in between your tour as it is hot outside and you may need to relax for a while.

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Is a camera allowed in the museum?

Taking still photos or videos is strictly prohibited inside the Relic Chamber. However, non-flash photography is allowed in the Buddhist Culture Museum and Eminent Sangha Museum.

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What makes Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum so special?

- It is the impressive architecture of the temple which makes it stand out among the rest of the lot. It is the only building in the entire Singapore which is lacquered instead of being painted. 

- The vibrant red and green colour of the temple is due to use of a tropical timber “Yellow Balau” which is found in Kalimantan. The naturally durable and finely grained wood is resistant to any form of damage caused by nature and insects.

- The woodwork is touched up with three coats of Chinese lacquer to protect the temple against the ravages of nature. The rafter beams on the top of the temple are guarded by bronze ornament caps while the lotus-shaped ornaments of the shrines in the temple are coated with golden yellow gilt which complements to the red and green shades of the building. 

- Another unique feature of the temple is the presence of one hundred Buddha statues sculptured by individual sculptors.

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What is Buddha's tooth relic?

On the 4th floor of the temple lays the pivotal attraction of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple securely rested on a stupa made of 402 Kg gold. It is a left canine tooth which is believed to belong to the original Gautama Buddha. According to popular belief of the locals, a Buddhist Monk Khema managed to take the left canine of Lord Buddha during his funeral and enshrine it in the inner relic chamber of the temple. It is the most revered and admired object of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and adorned with gold jewelry.

The actual date of enshrining the sacred tooth has not yet been found. Therefore, it is believed that the tooth was moved to a separate temple to show special regard to it. The gold used for manufacturing the stupa which contains the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha was obtained by melting the gold items donated by the devotees. Only monks who perform the daily service to the presiding deity are allowed to enter the relic chamber.

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What is the history of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum?

The venerated tooth relic housed in BTRTM was discovered from the ruins of a stupa in Myanmar by Cakkapala in 1980 and was transported to the Bandula Monastery for its enshrinement. After two decades in 2002 the Venerable (Ven.) Cakkapala brought the relic to the Golden Pagoda Temple on its tenth year of anniversary and donated it to Ven. Shi Fa Zhao for public view.

Later, in 2005 with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board Ven. Shi Fa Zhao started constructing the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum at Sago Street and finally, in 2007 the relic was enshrined in the new temple where it is displayed for public viewing and worship.

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What are the things I can experience in Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum?

Apart from the fabled canine tooth of Lord Buddha, there is a surfeit of things to behold and appreciate in the Buddha Relic Tooth Temple and Museum. Here are a few to add to your bucket list:

- Visitors can participate in a workshop called ‘Discovering Buddhism’ conducted by the BTRTM in which talks about Buddhist philosophy is delivered.

- On the 2nd floor of the temple, there is a petite tea house where you can rest and relax after touring around the temple. Vegetarian cuisines along with different varieties of herbal tea are served for the guests. You can also visit the culture shop which is situated on the same floor and buy ethnic knickknacks.

- BTRTM provides guided tours and a free English Language Tour (on Tuesdays and Thursdays) for the visitors. 

- After a tiring day trip in the temple, sit for a while and relax in the tranquil backdrop of the roof garden which houses the Giant Buddha Prayer Wheel where prayers are held every day.

- The theatre inside the Eminent Sangha Museum organizes talks, screenings and cultural events based on the life and preaching of Buddha and the history of the temple. You can participate in those events and enrich your knowledge.

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