Parsi Burial GroundThe original Parsi burial ground was located at Mount Palmer since 1828
Parsi Burial Ground
The original Parsi burial ground was located at Mount Palmer since 1828. It fell under the administration of Parsi trustees. In 1889,when the last two Parsi trustees left Singapore for India, the Trust was transferred to the Mohammedan and Hindu Endowment Board. When the Parsi Association was formed in 1954, the management of the Trust returned to the community. In 1969, the burial ground at Tanjong Pagar was purchased by the government of Singapore and a new burial ground was granted by the Government of Singapore, who moved it first to Tampines and then to its present location at the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery.
Mr. Muncherjee, the first Parsi in Singapore, arrived not long after Sir Raffles founded it in 1819. He was a convict, like many from India who had come to the colony. When Muncherjee fell ill, Aristarcus Sarkies, an Armenian trader persuaded Parsi traders residing in China to purchase a burial place for the Zoroastrians in Singapore. Coincidentally then, in 1827, John Palmer, a trader from Calcutta ran into business difficulties mainly because he lent money generously and saw little return of it. He sold part of his property – a hill named after him, Mount Palmer – and the plot was turned into a Parsi burial ground. The earliest burials were dated 1828.
In 1829, the Parsi Lodge Charity, an endowment trust, was established “to furnish a burial ground for Parsis”. Muncherjee and Pestonjee were the first two Parsi trustees to administer the Trust that was established for the upkeep of the burial ground and the adjoining Parsi Lodge. The last known burial at this plot took place in 1869. By the time the burial grounds were closed in 1934, there were about 30 graves with three that could be identified – those of Furmruze Sorabjee (d. 1849), Eduljee Nusserwanjee Muzgamwalla (d.1869) and Pestonji Pullonji Desai (d. 1868).
In April 1969, the burial ground was acquired by the Government of Singapore at a cost of $500,000, the sum of which was held in trust with the Parsi Lodge Charity. Later, to make way for urban development, the burial ground was moved to Tampines, a site behind the Paya Lebar Airport and then finally to Choa Chu Kang Cemetery, which henceforth became the burial site for people of all religious affiliations. Part of the income from the investment of the Parsi Lodge Charity is spent on the maintenance of the burial ground.
On the grounds of the Parsi Cemetery at Choa Chu Kang is a building used for reciting prayers for deceased Parsis. The cemetery is also the venue for the Jashan (thanksgiving) ceremonies and for prayers on Farvandin Roj (day) and Farvandin Mah (month).