Central Sikh Temple

Sikhism in Singapore has its roots in the military and policing forces of the British Empire. Currently, there are 12,000-15,000 Sikhs in Singapore.[1] There are 7 gurdwaras (Sikh temples) along with a missionary society, a welfare society, two youth organizations and two sports clubs.[2]


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Bhai Maharaj Singh (standing) and Companion (Khurruck Singh, seated on right) in a Prison Cell. Painted in Calcutta in November 1850. Maharaj Singh and his companion were the first Sikhs in Singapore on record.

The first Sikh to migrate to Singapore was Maharaj Singh in 1849; he was sent there as a political prisoner by the British Empire after the Second Anglo-Sikh War.[3] The Central Sikh Temple[1] was built to commemorate the 518th anniversary of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh guru. The temple boasts a skilful blend of modern and traditional architecture. The Guru Granth Sahib, or holy book, is enshrined in a magnificent prayer hall which has a 13-metre wide dome.

Photograph of members of the Sikh Police Contingent in-front of Gurdwara Sahib Silat Road in 1931. The gurdwara is also known as Singapore Sikh Police Temple. Also pictured is the inspector/general of police.

Singapore was part of Malaya under British rule and Sikhs migrated there as policemen. Some Sikhs in Singapore are immigrants from India (mainly from the Punjab region in India). Others are the descendants of Sikh prisoners from British India who were sent to Singapore by the British Army for protesting, attacking or killing British Soldiers, attacks; assaults; and vandalism of British buildings and property. They lived in British prisons in Singapore. Sikh migration to Singapore was popularized by the demand of Sikh police officers and guards in British colonial Malaya. A substantial amount of Sikhs in Singapore are also descendants of Indian Sikh Businessmen who immigrated to Singapore. Most Sikhs today are from the Jat community.

The community has been praised for its advancements made in Singaporean society whilst still holding onto its cultural and religious traditions.[4]

Prominent Sikhs

The Sikh Foundation and The Punjabi Foundation of Singapore are prominent associations that are promoting Sikh heritage and Punjabi language there.[5] Some prominent Sikhs who earned name in public life are:

See also


  1. ^ Iyer, Raman. "Sikhs in Singapore: Turbanators with rich tradition of donning uniform". Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Sikhs benefited from Singapore prosperity, says CSGB president". hindustantimes.com. 24 August 2015. Archived from the original on 24 August 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Sikhs in Singapore 1850 | Historical Events :Gateway to Sikhism". Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2009. 2009/04/15/Sikhs in Singapore 1850
  4. ^ "Sikhs in Singapore hailed for their contribution in diverse fields while retaining their culture". The Tribune. 31 July 2023. Retrieved 1 August 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d e Kahlon, Swarn Singh (2016). "Sikhs in Singapore". In Virk, Dr. Hardev Singh (ed.). Sikhs in Asia Pacific:Travels among the Sikh Diaspora from Yangon to Kobe. New Delhi: Manohar Publisher, Ne Delhi.
  6. ^ Auto, Hermes (21 December 2020). "Singapore's first head of navy Jaswant Singh Gill dies, aged 97 | The Straits Times". www.straitstimes.com. Retrieved 9 November 2022.