The original Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple exists since 1884 on Waterloo Street at its present location. Originally, it was built on a 500 square metres plot of land along Waterloo Street. A first addition to the structure of the original temple was made in 1895.
The main objective of the Temple at its inception was to provide a place of worship primarily of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, for the migrant Chinese population in Singapore. In the forties, during the World War II, the temple was spared of destruction when all the other buildings in the area were severely damaged. In those times, it provided refuge for the sick, the wounded and the homeless. Since 1997, the community of the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple has expanded its charity-work activities to the health and education system.
The building as we see it today was resized during the course of renovations completed in 1983. The temple was officially granted the status of a historic landmark in 2001.
The original temple, entry was gained across a large sheltered courtyard through a porch and screened anteroom. The main hall then contained three altars, the central one for the Kuan Yin and one each for Bodhidharma (the founder of Zen Buddhism) and Hua Tuo, a Chinese patron saint of medicine and healing on the flanking altars. An image of Sakyamuni Buddha was kept in the rear hall and various ancillary rooms on either side.
Today all the deities are arranged on a central altar. Elevated and positioned directly behind the figure of Guanyin stands that of the Sakyamuni Buddha, the first, eternal Buddha, born 2,500 years ago as the son of the Sakya Prince Suddodhana.
Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
178 Waterloo Street,