Thursday, October 23, 2014

Istana Singapore

Istana is the Malay word for Palace. It is one of the remaining buildings from the British colonial era. It occupies an area of 106 acre (0.4 km²) along Orchard Road and is opened to the public on selected public holidays (Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Labour Day and National Day).
The Main Building
During the British colonial era, this complex is known as the 'Government House' and the official residence for the British Governor. In the present day, this complex is used by the President to receive and entertain state guests. Although it is the 'official' residence of the President, no presidents or cabinet ministers have lived there since 1959.
The front facade of the main building
Entrance into the main building

What's on the Istana Grounds?
It is pretty much just an open space with lots of greenery. A swan lake is located close to the entrance (I don't have a picture for it). The main building is located deep into the grounds. Approaching the main building you will see a fountain.

Victoria Pond houses the statue of Queen Victoria and is located a short walk from the main building.
The plaque at the bottom of the statue reads:
This statue of Queen Victoria was presented by the Chinese Community of Singapore in the year of Her Majesty's Jubilee. To be placed in the Government House as a memorial of the loyal affection of Her Majesty's Chinese subjects and of their gratitude for the benefit of her rule.
Also on the grounds is a cannon captured from the Japanese.
The plaque on the cannon reads:
This Japanese 105 mm gun captured in Burma 1945 is presented to the people of Singapore by Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten GCVO, KCB, DSO, ADC. Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia whose headquarters were located in Singapore from November 1945 to May 1946.

During the open house, a few tents were set-up for the guests. One of them was by the Singapore Zoo.
Ponies on show by the Singapore Zoo

Another tent was a basically a mini playground for kids and some entertainment.
Performance by Samba Masala from SMU

Getting There
The quickest would probably be via MRT alighting at Dhoby Ghaut station.

Access to the grounds is free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residences but costs S$1 for other visitors during the open house. Also, a security check is conducted on every visitor upon entering the grounds. S$2 is required to enter the main building. All money collected is donated to charity (not sure which one though).

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