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Ten Courts of Hell reopens in Haw Par Villa



One of Haw Par Villa's key attractions - '10 courts of Hell' - which was closed in December 2003 for refurbishment, re-opened its doors on 1 Jun 2004.

The 67-year-old Haw Par Villa, situated along Pasir Panjang Road has been marked by the National Heritage Board as a historic site in April 2003. Mr Aw Boon Haw, a famous local philanthropist who founded the Tiger Balm business, built the Park in 1937.

Haw Par Villa is a park furnished with clusters of statues and figurines that depict intriguing stories of ancient Chinese mythology, legends and values.

The refurbished '10 Courts of Hell', housed within a new cave structure, offer visitors the ambience of a journey through 'Hell'. Prior to the refurbishment, the '10 Courts of Hell' was housed in a dragon structure which was developed in the 1990s. As part of the effort to reinstate the old charm of the park, the dragon structure was removed in December 2003 since it was not part of the original exhibit developed by Mr Aw in the 1930s.

Located in the east wing of Haw Par Villa, the '10 Courts of Hell' is a perennial favourite amongst visitors. It tells of the intriguing Chinese mythology of life after death through the display of colourful mythological statues and figurines.

The origins of the '10 Courts of Hell' is believed to be based on the Indian Buddhist legend of the 'World of Suffering' where one would be punished in 'Hell' for sins committed in one's present life. The concept of 'one reaps what one sows' and 'cause and effect' depicted in the '10 Courts of Hell' is the central tenet that serves to restrain anti-social, unethical or immoral behaviour.

The Buddhist concepts of 'Hell' and 'Yama' had spread to China during the late Tang Dynasty. Over the centuries, most Chinese had adopted and integrated these ideas and concepts into their own beliefs. Each of the '10 Courts' is presided over by a 'Yama' taking charge of the various torture chambers to penalize evil-doers. These 'Yama' could decree the different methods and severity of punishments to be meted out based on one's past deeds.

While admission to Haw Par Villa is free, visitors can visit the '10 Courts of Hell' as well as the Jade House for a nominal admission fee of S$1 for adults and S$0.50 for children.

Haw Par Villa is located at:
Address: 262 Pasir Panjang Road
Opening hours: 9am - 7pm daily
Admission: Free
Getting there:
Bus no. 200 from Buona Vista MRT;
SBS bus 10, 30, 188 from World Trade Centre;
143 from Orchard Road; or
51 from Chinatown.
Tel: (65) 6774 0300
Fax: (65) 6779 7601

Source: Excerpted from Singapore Tourism Board Media Release 1 Jun 2004


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6 June 2004