Bidadari Cemetery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 1°20′7.53″N 103°52′19.21″E / 1.3354250°N 103.8720028°E / 1.3354250; 103.8720028

The gate of the former cemetery, now located in a small memorial garden called Bidadari Garden at 10 Mount Vernon

Bidadari Cemetery (Chinese: 比达达利坟场, Malay: Perkuburan Bidadari) is a defunct cemetery in Singapore. There were two sections: the Muslim section was at the base of Mount Vernon, bounded by Upper Aljunied Road, Upper Serangoon Road, and Bartley Road; the Christian section was across Upper Aljunied Road from the Muslim section, and bounded by Upper Serangoon Road as well.

The site of the cemetery used to be the Istana residence of one of the wives of Johore Sultan Abubakar's wives.[1]

Apart from being a place of remembrance, the trails inside Bidadari Cemetery used to be very popular as a running route for members of the Gurkha Contingent. Bidadari Cemetery is no longer in use, and most of the graves have been exhumed for redevelopment. Woodleigh MRT Station now occupies part of the former site.[1]

The cemetery was a burial site of Augustine Podmore Williams, an English sailor, on whose life writer Joseph Conrad based his novel Lord Jim. Burials were not permitted after 1972, the same year that the Mount Vernon Crematorium and Columbarium was opened, which too eventually closed in 2004 due to redevelopment plans drawn up by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).[1]

All the graves were eventually exhumed between 2001 and 2004 to make way for re-development in the land-scarce city-state. It was re-opened as a temporary park in 2006.

The Bidadari Memorial Garden was set up at nearby Mount Vernon Road to commemorate the cemetery.

In late 2011, the Ministry of National Development (MND), came up with the blueprint to develop the area into a housing estate with HDB flats and private housing. Works begun in 2012 to build the houses, with the first batch of BTO HDB flats expected to be ready by 2018.

Name[edit]

The word bidadari means "fairy" and is probably derived from the Sanskrit word widyadari, which means a nymph of India's heaven or a houri of paradise. The bidadari are depicted as kindly fairies and genies that preside over the union of flowers. In the local context, the name is a reference to the beauty of the wife of Abu Bakar of Johor who had a house there. The cemetery took the name after the sultan's wife ceased to reside there. The grounds were leased to a Japanese person who built moats with typical Japanese wooden bridges and a teahouse.

Notable burials[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bidadari Cemetery, Singapore Infopedia.
  • Victor R Savage, Brenda S A Yeoh (2004), Toponymics - A Study of Singapore Street Names, Eastern University Press, ISBN 981-210-364-3.