Serangoon area is one of the early settlements of the Indians; Hindus met, worshipped and sustained their cultural heritage in the Temple. this is the only Vishnu Temple in Singapore.

This Temple was gazetted as a national monument on 10 November 1978

Sri Narasimha Perumal (Vishnu) Temple was founded in the 1860s by Narasimhaloo Naidu whose family deity was Narasimba. Narasimhaloo Naidu was a wealthy person and endowed some of his landed property to the Temple; he had bought the land from the government for 21 rupees and 3 annas. The Temple's name was changed to Sri Srinivasa Perumal for it was wrongly believed that it was named after its founder.

Hindu residents in the neighbourhood added a hall to the original structure. There was a large pond beside the Temple and many male Hindus bathed here; it was closed in the 1920s and a small well took its place.

The government took over the administration of the two Hindu Temples, the Sri Mariamman Temple in South Bridge Road and the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and incorporated them under the Hindu and Mohamedan Board in 1905.

In the 1960s the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple was renovated and the Temple Committee brought a new statue from India. Furher renovations were carried out in the 1960s and the 'Kopuram' (Main Tower) (expenses met by P. Govindasamy Pillay) was added. In 1990 further renovations were being made.

An important aspect of the Vaishnavite (worshippers of Vishnu) religion is the worship of 'avatars' (incarnations). 'it is the belief that the divine nature becomes incarnate in animal or human form in order to conquer an evil being, to arrest the growth of unrighteousness, or to induce men to reform their lives'. Vishnu's work is to put right what he sees as te great wrong done to humanity.

The number of 'avataras' of Vishnu varied but by the eighth century the number had been stabilized as ten. The first five 'avataras' are clearly mythological; the next three are heroic; the ninth is an effort to assimilate Buddhism into Vaishnavism and last is eschatological. The ten are as follows;

1. Matsya. Vishnu appeared as a fish to rescue Manu Vaivasvata (the Hindu Noah) from the Flood, to recover the Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures) which were stolen by a demon and to instruct Manu in the Vedas.

2. Kurma. Things were in chaos after the Flood; the divine beings discovered that the nectar of immortality had been lost and was at the bottom of the ocean. The divine beings decided to churn the ocean to bring up the chalice which contained the nectar. Vishnu volunteered to transform himself into a tortoise to use his back as a pivot for the gigantic churning stick.

3. Varaha. The demon king Hiranyasha one dragged the earth to the bottom of the ocean; Vishnu assumed the form of a boar, killed the demon and raised the earth from the ocean's depths.

4. Narasimha. When Hiranyaksha had died his twin Hiranyaksasipu ascended the throne of the demons. His tyranny threatened the divine beings, men and animals. Because the demon was given a boon that he could not be killed either by man or beast, Vishnu took the form a man-lion and slew him.

5. Vamana. According to a myth, the demon Bali took control of the three worlds and to regain the worlds Vishnu assumed the form of a dwarf and begged that he be allowed as much land as he could cover in three steps. Bali agreed. Vishnu then assumed giant proportions and took two strides to cover earth and heaven; Vishnu however did not take the third step, and left the underworld to Bali.

6. Parashurama. 'Rama of the Axe' is Vishnu incarnated to deliver the Brahmins from the tyranny of the Kshatriyas.

7. Rama. Vishnu was born as Rama, the hero of the 'Ramayana 'to slay the powerful king Ravana of Lanka.

8. Krishna. This is the most popular of the 'avatars'; Vishnu becomes Krishna of the 'Bhagavata Gita' (the scriptures) and of the 'Bhagavata Purana'.

9. Buddha. It sis the relief that Buddha is an 'avatar' of Vishnu.

10. Kalki. Kalki is the name of the incarnation yet to come in this Kali Yuga (period of time). Vishnu will appear on the earth to restore its purity and 'Kalki' (white horse) signifies the steed upon which he will ride.

Vishnu is the forgiver of sins and gratifier of all one's wishes and guide to the path of virtues; he is love embodied, a righteous judge sees that good triumphs over injustice an evil. In Hindu mythology it was Vishnu as the benefactor of man cleared the earth of a multitude of giants and monsters. To come to earth to see that good triumphs over evil he becomes an 'avatar'. The earth then becomes his home. In a family the husband and father (householder) is regarded as Vishnu for he is the compassionate sustainer, benevolent provider, a resourceful and amiable protector.

Hindus believe in the brotherhood of all creatures on earth under the fatherhood of God. Lakshimi, Vishnu's consort, enriches and brightens lives by inspiring man to turn despair to resourcefulness; she is also the goddess of beauty and wealth; gold symbolises her.