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Nirvana Columbarium in Singapore: A Peaceful Final Resting Place

by Simmy

Columbarium, an entity within the public and private sectors, provides funeral and niche services catered to the death-care needs. The decision to house ashes at a Buddhist facility is largely attributed to the significance of Buddhism in the lives of the deceased. Generally, the motivation lies in providing an appropriate environment for the departed to contemplate rhetorical questions in the minds of the living community, on the nature of existence itself. Ultimately, it is hoped that these endeavors, strictly within the Buddhist context, will guide the departed to a favorable rebirth and future existence.

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, as an institution, is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese beliefs and has its own dedicated columbarium. Meanwhile, the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery has announced plans to move its ashes niche park to the Tai Pei Buddhist Centre in the near future. The building of the state-of-the-art Nirvana Columbarium Singapore signifies a historic milestone for the Buddhist community in Singapore. Today, Nirvana Columbarium is the preferred choice among Singapore Buddhists. It is a safe and optimal investment for your dearly departed, providing comfort and long-term care in a tastefully nurtured environment.

History of Nirvana Columbarium

The concept of a Nirvana Memorial Garden in Singapore was conceived by three Singaporean Buddhists who envisaged a sanctuary that embodied the teachings of Buddha and served as a place for the final resting of Buddhist ashes. The Columbarium was officially opened in 1991 with the enshrinement of a Buddha Relic where devotees can collect and reflect on information about Buddhism. As part of the ongoing effort to raise the vibrational energy levels of the Columbarium, numerous relics from various countries and diverse schools of Buddhism were subsequently enshrined to cater to the needs of the increasing Buddhist population in Singapore. In appreciation of the Columbarium’s efforts to promote Buddhism and provide a conducive place for Singapore Buddhists, the Singapore Buddhist Welfare Services made a grant of $1.6 million to build the 3-storey building named Wisdom Hall. This complex would not only increase the capacity for storing urns by building niches, but it would also serve as an educational center to promote Buddhism through the study of scriptures and artifacts.

Significance of Columbariums in Singapore

Nirvana Columbarium in Singapore is the first of its kind and is the biggest Buddhist urn place in Southeast Asia. Modernisation and urbanisation have presented a grave challenge to the traditional beliefs and practices of the living towards their ancestors in Asia. Keeping an urn at home has been discouraged by the government as unsafe and unsanitary, and with shortage of burial land, many have no choice but to store the ashes of their loved ones in niches that are built above the ground level in government-built columbariums. Unfortunately, due to shortage of land, the dead are evicted. Consequently, many living descendants are greatly distressed and have to solve the problem of what to do with the ancestral urns. These are some reasons that contribute to the building of a columbarium above the ground. With government and private that are being built, the Chinese community now has some choices in which they can properly manage the deceased. With Buddhists having no distinctive place to keep urns, Nirvana seeks to give disciples a peace of mind by providing a place for perpetual urn storage.


Features of Nirvana Columbarium

The Columbarium offers a range of amenities from basic to upscale, small to large. An example of this is the Harmony Hall which is surrounding a man-made lake. It is a cozy area with 50 sq ft air-conditioned rooms for holding memorial services, activities, and educational sessions. The Mandala Hall is also designed for the same reasons with 215 air-conditioned rooms. For a more premium service, hold the services in the Tang Dynasty influenced Xuan Zang Hall. The landscaped areas such as the Lotus Garden and Crystal Garden are smaller in comparison but still as good. Whereas the Nirvana Court is an upscale outdoor area intended for the elegant scattering of ashes. It is with these facilities and services that Nirvana hopes to accommodate everyone according to their cultural and religious requirements.

Architecture and Design

Future developments. Other future architectural developments relevant to the entire peaceful memorialization setting at Taman Nirvana would be the Memorial Garden and Memorial Park. A Memorial Garden that will eventually be serving as a cemetery for columbarium reserved niche holders, and also doubles as an urn burial space to adhere to and meet changing memorialization trends among Buddhists who at times may wish to change their selected form of memorialization. Adjacent to it will be a joint development with government agencies to build a Memorial Park that immortalizes the achievements and contributions of the medical profession to world and Asian history, and to the foundations of Singapore, and to also pay respects to past physicians who have made the Pilgrimage, with the building of a Monument to Singapore Niche. This will further provide a tranquil nature lining as a buffer between the memorialization facilities in Taman Nirvana and Singapore Niche.

Elegance in design. Strolling around the columbarium, visitors will have an enchanting experience wandering through various landscape settings around Taman Nirvana, each with its own distinctive cultural or natural character, to discover our huge selection of memorialization facilities amidst the beautifully designed architecture and facilities provided.

Modern functionality. Between the twin Memorial Halls, Niche Blocks A and B are designed in a clean and uncluttered modern manner and built to modern building form and fire safety codes where shift and arrangement of niche panels allow for groups of niche sales to be consecrated to individual organizations in the future. High Niche Block C’s design is a tribute to the innovative and space saving niche solutions of modern high density private housing flats. Niche Blocks A, B and C can be found at the Niche Tower Block, a modern 7 storey air-conditioned tower that is the Columbarium’s centre piece that is linked to the Memorial Halls by a series of aerial covered link-ways.

Traditional architecture. The traditional Chinese architecture of the main buildings, pavilions and prayer halls is designed to reflect the cultural background of Nichiren Buddhists and to provide a richly ornamented and comfortable setting for the practice of Buddhism.

Landscape settings. Nirvana’s Columbarium in Singapore is a 6-star premium columbarium with an elegant and culturally sensitive architecture exclusive to Taman Nirvana. It has a grand air-conditioned concourse and impressive reception, along with an elaborately landscaped pedestrian entrance way, flanked by ceremonial plazas.

Amenities and Facilities

Nirvana Columbarium is a perfect place for a peaceful final resting place for your loved ones. Find out why. An ample car park area is provided for the ease of pilgrims at the ground level. This is to make their journey to the columbarium an easy one. The columbarium is equipped with air-conditioning to make visit by family members a comfortable one. There are also amenities such as coffee houses and restaurants, to fulfill the stomachs of visitors, after a long day of visiting their loved ones. Safety measure is also taken into consideration with the provided of CCTV, security guard house. Centralized display of obituaries to conveniently locate the niche assigned. Every aspect is meant to create an environment of comfort. Our premium collection of ritual and prayer altars offer the ultimate in solemnity and an exalted level of respect. Fully air-conditioned to create a tranquil and reflective environment, each individual altar is suitable for families performing their annual Qing Ming or other festival rites. Built with a systematic air-releasing mechanism to prevent formation of soot and carbon dust resulting in long-term discoloration of nearby niche tablets, it integrates an environmentally cleaner form of incense offering for ancestor veneration. A niche tablet would remain clean and unblemished, signifying a form of respect and filial piety towards the departed.

Services Offered

Nirvana Columbarium offers its customers many services to help the dead rest in peace. The first service performed is Buddhist Funeral Rites, also known as end of life service rites. These rites are performed by professionals to ensure everything is done correctly and the dead are able to have a smooth journey to the next life. Our staff will provide guidance to the family of the deceased, assisting them in the selection of the niche and the type of flower offering which is best suited for the rites. This will be a 49-day program service, a time where a loved one prays for the deceased on the night of the 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, 35th, and 49th day. These prayer sessions will help to ease the deceased’s suffering and also guide them in the next life, and also to develop their virtuous qualities. After a year, we will then have a memorial service to dedicate all merits obtained to the deceased. A prayer will be said by a monk, whereas the loved ones will offer flowers and take turns to recite the Buddha’s name. The customer may also request an audio recording to be made and be given a copy for their future generations to play during the memorial service. Other than rites and prayers, we have various pre-need and at-need funeral services offered. Pre-need funeral services are services that are made in advance. It is the selection of funeral location, service rites, niche selection, floral arrangement, and a gala hearse service. These selections will ensure that the bereaved family need not be troubled during the distraught stage when the deceased has just passed away. At-need funeral services are for a sudden incident of death in the family, where we will make all the necessary arrangements to hold a funeral service at our Columbarium and guide the selection of various funeral services as stated above.

Benefits of Choosing Nirvana Columbarium

Less we forget, the location and accessibility of Nirvana is disastrous; notorious for traffic congestion and poor public transportation availability. However, this spells good news for families paying respects to the departed. With growing modernization and urban sprawl, finding a time and place for solitude and reflection can be quite difficult. Suburban columbariums are often located in quiet areas; however, this may not be convenient for everyone due to travel and time constraints. The niche at Nirvana Inc. is a cost-effective, space-saving, and convenient alternative to grave burial and propels scattering. With the location in the city center Singapore, it provides easy and functional accessibility for everyone. This location also allows family members to combine visits to the departed with an itinerary for other errands who may not otherwise make frequent trips to a secluded suburban cemetery.

Another great thing about Nirvana Columbarium is that they employ professionals with great dedication in serving people with utmost sincerity and empathy, making it a pleasant and hassle-free experience. Post-death memorialization in the form of cremation is an increasingly common practice for families going through the funeral process. Unfortunately, many have to settle with simply an urn within a niche with the deceased’s name due to limited options. Nirvana offers creative options by allowing the construction of personal or family memorials that serve as a place for reflection and remembrance of the departed. These memorials are affordable and provide a unique way of preserving the memories of the departed for future generations.

Columbariums distinguish themselves from other traditional burial methods with respect to the former’s modern, eco-friendly, and space-saving approach. This alternative is of growing interest to consumers with environmental concerns and those seeking reductions in land space utilized by typical cemeteries. Amongst all the columbariums in Singapore, Nirvana Columbarium is the only one that incorporates elements of Feng-Shui; this establishes a tranquil environment that calms the senses and emotions of grieving family members and friends.

Tranquil Environment for Remembrance

  1. The ventilation in our buildings is kept at a comfortable level to create a cool and calming atmosphere. Our buildings are also built just the right distances apart to allow for ample natural lighting to brighten the day during your visits. Lighting can also have a profound effect on how we feel, and to this end very gentle and calming lighting is used in the corridors and building areas. With our lighting, our environment and our also our policies (no operating of any shops/indoor businesses at Nirvana), we hope to discourage quick visits and instead encourage lengthy visits and contemplation.
  2. Located in a quiet and serene surroundings, we recognize the importance of being able to reminisce about your loved ones in a peaceful environment. Here at Nirvana Columbarium, we take things a step further. Our peaceful environment is achieved through meticulously thought out design and creative landscaping. The use of feng shui and the implementing of geomancy have resulted in a tranquil setting that is sure to put your mind at ease, creating an environment in which memories can be revisited, and meditative thoughts can take place. Consideration has also been taken for the weather – for example there are shelters all around the columbarium and there is wheelchair access throughout. Step into Nirvana Columbarium and feel the difference for yourself.

Professional and Compassionate Staff

Our staff are also highly skilled professionals with a wealth of experience in providing funeral and bereavement care to those from all religions and cultural backgrounds. You can trust in correct expert information and advice on how to access or utilize the many options and services provided at Nirvana and peace of mind that your loved ones will receive the highest level of care and respect at all times.

Nirvana Staff understand that everyone is different and has different needs when coping with grief and loss. They aim to provide a level of support that suits you and to make your experience with us as positive as it can be. Whether it’s offers of a listening ear or providing you your own space in the tranquil surroundings of the peaceful gardens of Nirvana, our staff will help guide you through this difficult time.

Each staff member at Nirvana Columbarium is committed to providing a high standard of professional, compassionate, and caring services. They are empathetic and understanding and are people you can count on for the support you need. Our staff believes that for every person that enters our care, their family and friends were once where you are now, and it is with this in mind that we strive to provide our very best every day.

Customization Options for Memorials

There are various customization options for the marble memorial niches like customized colors, sizes, and designs. The small marble plaques which are placed in front of each niche can also have special engravings to personalize the memorial of your loved ones. Other customization options include photo plaques, Christian/Muslim symbol plaques, couple niches, and family niches. The latest innovation in memorialization is the e-Nichi that is available at Nirvana Columbarium in Singapore. Comparable to the traditional urns but more advanced, the e-Nichi stores not only memories and photos of your loved ones but also their favorite music, recorded voice, and even DVDs of past events. High-tech and space-saving, the e-Nichi guarantees a special memorial for anyone who wants to be remembered, and understandable instructions ensure that even the elderly can use it.

Convenient Location and Accessibility

With the construction of the nearby expressway Thomson Line, future traffic to the columbarium would be much smoother. From an environmental standpoint, traffic congestion would be reduced, and the reduced traveling time would cause less noise and air pollution in the residential areas to the west of the Lornie Highway. This in turn will maintain the peace and quiet of the columbarium surroundings. Despite being easily accessible, the columbarium’s strategic location cognitively removes it from the hustle and bustle of the typical city, providing a serene and peaceful environment for all.

With a convenient location right next to the Mandai Crematorium, Nirvana Columbarium is very accessible for families who wish to visit their departed. The close proximity allows for a more convenient experience for families when traveling between both venues, cutting down on transportation time. At your time of bereavement and sadness, the last thing you need is any hassle to get to your intended location. With such quality location, Nirvana provides a great platform for the next of kin to show their final respect by visiting their deceased loved ones, be it at the crematorium or the columbarium.

“Buddhist philosophy invites one to reflect on death and impermanence which is believed to be beneficial to diminish the destructive emotions of life. Reflecting on death creates urgency to make something meaningful out of one’s life,” says Phra Goh. With the already space constraints in homeland, land scarcity will be a very urgent issue to solve should scarcity continue. It is thus important to always consider alternatives for burials and remember that our living is more fulfilling than our passing. In the race to search for an alternative, quality must not be compromised. Each alternative must be a meaningful and dignified one for the deceased and those who remember the deceased. From this reflection, Nirvana Columbarium at Singapore is one good example of a facility that provides an environmentally friendly premium alternative for those who seek a peaceful and dignified place as a final resting place in Singapore. It is not an easy feat to achieve premium quality in land scarce Singapore yet this facility is the result of various discussions and planning and is a prime example of a concept which would “accomplish and preserve the unique self-identity of a person” (Ho and Lynch, 1981).

In conclusion, I would like to reinforce the fact that death is a topic that many would shy away from. While we look to create life and excitement from whatever we do, death remains as a taboo subject. Yet in this process of avoiding death as a topic, we never prepare ourselves for it. Youths and adults might imagine passing away as the final thing that they do in life when it really is not. Passing away can occur at any time and avoidance of this fact does not help in preparing us for when it really happens.

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