The Sri Senpaga Vinayar temple was not on my agenda. I came upon it while making my way down yet another side street in Tanjong Katong. It was charming–almost modest compared to some Hindu temples, with its ornamentation largely in shades of ochre rather than in technicolor.
I felt drawn to it, and it was more than just the sudden outpouring of monsoon rain that made me decide to go in.
I cannot begin to explain this imagery, but I will say that I find it graceful and attractive. And the couple of worshippers who helped me to learn where to leave my shoes were kind and welcoming.
Actually, I do know a bit about this last one. That’s the god Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati. He’s a popular god, since he is the remover of obstacles and lord of new beginnings.
The Sri Senpaga Vinayar Temple dates back to the 1850s, when a vinayar (elephant god) image was found under a senpaga tree by a small stream. From these humble beginnings grew a graceful and welcoming temple, home to the Ceylonese Tamil community in the area.
Inside and out, the temple was plastered with homilies and admonitions. Perhaps as much as anything, it was the kindness of these that drew me to the place.
“Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world. Hinduism is a way of life, a system of life values, and feeling of equal respect for all religions. Everyone is deemed a Hindu. There is no conversion required.”