Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum – Singapore - Atlas Obscura

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Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum

This $62 million dollar temple was erected to house one little dental fragment of religious history. 


Completed in 2007, this $62 million complex is a popular tourist attraction in Singapore’s vibrant Chinatown. That may seem like quite an investment to honor a fragment of bone, but the tooth purportedly belongs to one of the most famous religious figures in history—the Buddha.  

The temple claims that the tooth is a relic recovered in 1980 from a collapsed stupa in Myanmar, but little additional information has been provided. Experts have called into question the authenticity of the tooth, saying that it is most likely “the tooth of a cow or water buffalo, but definitely not a human.”

The tooth is located on the fourth story of the temple in the Sacred Light Chamber. It is only available for viewing during certain hours, so be sure to check the website before you go. Photography is strictly forbidden inside the relic chamber.

Even if you miss the tooth, the temple itself is very impressive, featuring multiple floors of buddha statues, nagas (the popular Southeast Asian dragon-snakes that guard sacred relics), and impressive ceremonial venues in which to pray and meditate. 

There are a handful of other temples that claim to have tooth relics, including the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

In partnership with KAYAK

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