In 1962,on the eve of Pongal , Mr. P. Karupiah, a worker in the British Royal Navy Dockyard, had a very significant dream. He dreamt of Lord Murugan and a majestic golden cobra (Rajanagam) seated below a particular Elanthamaran in the swampy mangrove area west of Canberra Road. On the auspicious day of Pongal 1962, Mr. P. Karupiah went to the Elanthamaran and constructed a very simple altar at the base of the tree. Significantly, the tree had six main branches symbolizing its link to Lord Murugan ( also known as Shanmukha or Arumugam). He placed pictures of the deities Vinayager , Murugan, Ambal , and Lord Shiva on the altar, together with a large “vel” and started praying.
Word of the simple altar, and daily evening prayers conducted there, spread like wild fire. Hindus working in the Royal Navy Dockyard and living in the quarters provided by the British, which was within walking distance of te temple, soon flocked to the small temple.
An interim committee was formed. The then Commodore HMN Dockyard allowed the place to be designated as a place to be designed as a place of worship. A small shed was built around the Elanthamaram, and it became known as the PUNITHA MARAM (HOLY TREE ) BALASUBRAMANIAR temple.
1964 – 1972
The temple was officially registered in 1964 and Mr. S. Saravanan became the first Honorary President. His elected Management Committee was tasked with the project of building the temple. With the enthusiastic support of the members and devotees, the building project was initiated. The Commodore of the Royal Navy, and the Super in ten dent of HMN Dockyard, contributed building materials and other logistics support. The temple owes these two gentlemen and immeasurable gratitude for their understanding meterial support. The temple must also never forget the pioneers. a small group of very dedicated devotees whose drives and back-breaking efforts contributed immensely to the growth of the temple.The temple celebrated its first Kumbaabheshgam (consecration ceremony), In March 1971, the first wedding between selvarajan and Vijaya was solemnised in the temple. This was the start of many weddings in the temple.
After nine years at the helm, within which the foundations of the temple were laid, Mr. S. Saravanan stood down as the president. A young Lawyer, Mr. Subhas Anadan was elected as the new president in 1973. This marked the beginning of a younger generation of members leading the temple in its next phase of development. Under Mr. Anandan’s leadership, the management committee established the youth wing, the bulk of organization and administration begin to be undertaken by the youth wing. Religious classes, bhajan singing and other cultural activities blossomed under the young vibrant committee.
In 1976, Mr . E . Narainasamy (one of the pioneers) was elected the President of the temple. He had a very young Management Committee which decided to restructure and renovate the temple. Eminent religious authorities were consulted and they all indicated that the exsisting edifice had to be alerted and re-aligned. The shastrams indicated that the temple had certain inherent architectural defects. The vast architectural experience of “sthapathis” Chidambaranathan and Madhaven Achary from Tamil Nadu was engaged to renovate the temple. With the blessings of Sri Balasubramaniar, the second Kumbaabheshegam in Nov 1977 was conducted by the world renowed Sri Ayamani Sivam from Tamil Nadu assisted by Chandrasekhar Kurookal and other eminent “kurookals” from India , Malaysia and Singapore. Mr. Doraisami became president in 1985 and plans were drawn up for the third Kumbhabheshegm to be conducted in November 1989.
Panguni Uthiram Festival
The Panguni Uthiram festival was first celebrated in the temple in 1967. With their assistance of Sivasamy Pandaram, six youths prepared to carry the kavadi in honor of Sri Balasubramaniar. On the eve of Panguni Uthirm Festival, the temple chariot with Lords Vinayager and Subramanirar is taken into grand procession in the street of Sembawang. Thousands of devotees, not only from Sembawang, but from other constituencies in Singapore, Malaysia participate in this annual festival. All the management committees that have led the temple to its present position, have placed on record, that without the untiring ceaseless efforts, donations and invaluable services of all the members, devotees and well wishes of the temple, the development of the Holy tree Sri Balasubramaniar Temple would not have been possible.
- The temple shifted from Canberra Road in Sembawang to present location at Yishun industrial Park on the 26th of January 1996.
- Plot of land here was purchased for $408,000.
- New temple construction (estimated to cost about $3.5 million) commenced in October 1997
- Sculptural works commenced in February 1998
- Consecration Ceremony of present temple on 29th August 1999