10 stages in the Court of Hell at Haw Par Villa

*Please be forewarned, some of the photos in this post are graphic, and not for the faint of heart (or stomach). 

Haw Par Villa - Entrance to the Courts of Hell
Entrance to the Courts of Hell

This was a fascinating part of the Haw Par Villa theme park, in Singapore. It describes, in detail, the torture and punishment for each sin one commits in a lifetime.

As you enter the tunnel, you are greeted by the first court’s king. The following descriptions of each Court are excerpts taken from inside the cave:

First Court of Hell – Yama: King Qinguang

In the First Court of Hell, King Qinguang conducts preliminary trials and each prisoner is judged according to his deeds in his past life. The ‘good’ is distinguished from the ‘evil’ and the King recommends appropriate reward or punishment. Punishment is then carried out in the various Courts.

Those with virtuous conduct in their past life will be lead over the ‘Golden Bridge’ to reach paradise.

Those whose past good deeds outweigh crimes committed will be sent to the ‘Silver Bridge’ to reach paradise.

Those who were evildoers in their past life will be sent to repent before the “Mirror of Retribution” and then taken to a subsequent Court of Hell to be punished.

Haw Par Villa - First Court of Hell
First Court of Hell – Yama: King Qinguang

Second Court of Hell – Yama: King Chujiang

CrimePunishment
Inflicting physical InjuryThrown into a volcanic pit
Robbers
CorruptionFrozen into blocks of ice
Stealing and Gambling
ProstitutesThrown into a pool of blood and drowned
Haw Par Villa - Second Court of Hell
Second Court of Hell – Yama: King Chujiang (1st room)
Haw Par Villa - Second Court of Hell - 2nd room
Second Court of Hell – Yama: King Chujiang (2nd room)
Haw Par Villa - Second Court of Hell - 3rd room
Second Court of Hell – Yama: King Chujiang (3rd room)

Third Court of Hell – Yama: King Songdi

CrimePunishment
UngratefulnessHeart cut out
Disrespect Elders
Escape from Prison
Drug addicts and traffickersTied to a red hot copper pillar and grilled
Tomb Raiders
Urging People into crime
Haw Par Villa - Third Court of Hell
Third Court of Hell – Yama: King Songdi

Fourth Court of Hell – Yama: King Wuguan

CrimePunishment
Tax dodgerPounded by a stone mallet
Business Fraud
Disobedience to one’s siblingsGrounded by a large stone
Haw Par Villa - Fourth Court of Hell
Fourth Court of Hell – Yama: King Wuguan

“Wang-Si” Town

This accommodates those who were wronged and driven to their death. They would be asked to view how their enemies receive retribution. They would then be judged on their past deeds and given an appropriate punishment.

Fifth Court of Hell – Yama: King Yanluo 

CrimePunishment
Plotted another’s death for his property or moneyThrown onto a hill of knives
Moneylenders with exorbitant interest rates (ha!)

The Viewing Home Tower is for the evildoers to see how their relatives and family are suffering as a result of their wrong-doings.

Haw Par Villa - Fifth Court of Hell
Fifth Court of Hell – Yama: King Yanluo

Sixth Court of Hell – Yama: King Piencheng

CrimePunishment
CheatingThrown onto a tree of knives
Cursing
Abducting Others
Misuse of booksBody sawed into two
Possession of pornographic material
Breaking written rules and regulations
Wasting Food
Haw Par Villa - Sixth Court of Hell
Sixth Court of Hell – Yama: King Piencheng

Seventh Court of Hell – Yama: King Taishan

CrimePunishment
Rumours-mongersTongue pulled out
Sowing discord among family members
RapistsThrown into a wok of boiling oil
Driving someone to their death
Haw Par Villa - Seventh Court of Hell
Seventh Court of Hell – Yama: King Taishan

Eighth Court of Hell – Yama: King Dushi

CrimePunishment
Causing trouble for parents or family membersIntestines and organs pulled out
Cheating during examinations
Harming others to benefit oneselfBody dismemberment
Haw Par Villa - Eighth Court of Hell
Eighth Court of Hell – Yama: King Dushi

Ninth Court of Hell – Yama: King Pingdeng

CrimePunishment
RobberyHead and arms chopped off
Murder
Rape
Any other unlawful conduct
Neglect of the old and youngCrushed under boulders
Haw Par Villa - Ninth Court of Hell
Ninth Court of Hell – Yama: King Pingdeng

Tenth Court of Hell – Yama: King Zhuanlun

In the Tenth Court, there is a ‘Wheel of Reincarnation’ and the ‘Pavilion of Forgetfulness’ (Men-Po Pavilion).

After serving their sentences, prisoners arrive at the Tenth Court where King Zhuanlun passes final judgement. The prisoners are then brought to the ‘Pavilion of Forgetfulness’ where an old lady “Men Po” hands them a cup of magic tea which on drinking makes them forget their past lives.

Haw Par Villa - Tenth Court of Hell
Tenth Court of Hell – Yama: King Zhuanlun

They will then go through the ‘Wheel of Reincarnation’ – Samsara.  Depending on the prisoner’s past life, they would be reborn either as a human or an animal. Some would be reborn into a life of ease and comfort while others into sorrow and suffering.

Haw Par Villa - The Courts of Hell 'Wheel of Reincarnation' - Samsara
The Courts of Hell ‘Wheel of Reincarnation’ – Samsara

With the morbid side of it aside, I found this exceptionally interesting! My lesson has been learned – I will not be misusing books, or cheating during examinations any time soon!

Courts of Hell - Haw Par Villa - Singapore Map
Click on the map to see where Haw Par Villa is in Singapore

Have you ever been to a cultural centre that depicted such graphic figures to get a message across? Have you been a good citizen and not ‘misused books’? When faced with the mirror of truth – will you appear pure or evil in your reflection?

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10 stages in the Court of Hell at Haw Par Villa
10 stages in the Court of Hell at Haw Par Villa

28 Responses

  1. Interesting – there’s a similar sort of place in Korea, though it’s well off the beaten path and you’d only find it if you were really looking for it. It’s called Bugok Hawaii, and while they’re stone and not colored, they’re totally worth visiting.

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  4. I think that all this is just try to scare people they re not such thing. Elderly people like to scare other especially during ancient time.

  5. I think that all this is just try to scare people there re not such thing. Elderly people like to scare other especially during ancient time.

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  7. mine is already learned. when i was young.i have a lot of bad habits of cheating And cursing my own parents with such foul language. But i also neglected my youngest brother when i was young. but with the lesson from the ten hell courts image display.
    I’ve finally learn that i should not abuse my own brother and i shall not misuse the books,I’m free of possession of pronographic Materials and i shall not curse ah ma with such language anymore. And i will always be respectful and i will always be grateful and obedient man for my parents.

    I hope it’s not too late to do good deeds.
    because i’m still doing the dharmma class.
    so i shall do even more better deeds. without doing the crimes for hell. i shall do good deeds for the heaven.

    And whenever i shall do deeds,one thing is certainly. I’M FREE!! From crimes and i’m free from pornographic material possession. never rob anyone’s cash and belonings again forever.

  8. I lived in Singapore as an armed forces brat from 1968-70, between the ages of 7 and 9. I remember going to Haw Par Villa as a kid, and seeing the 10 Courts of Hell (or torture chamber as we called it) frightened the living daylights out of me! I had to sleep with the light on for days afterwards. Even seeing those pictures now, as an adult, is fairly scary, so imagine what it was like for a little kid.

    Nonetheless, thanks for the memories. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi BollingerBabe! That’s incredible that you got to see the park in its hay-day, though it sounds like you weren’t quite ready for what it had in store for you. Now it’s a slightly run down relic of a time nearly forgotten. Have you been back to Singapore since? You might not recognize it!

      Glad to have stirred up some old memories – though I apologize if they weren’t your fondest! haha. Thanks for sharing your story with us ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Hi Ian,

        Sorry for the delay in my reply (tempus fugit). Yes, I’ve been back to “Singers” twice since then, in 1997 and in 2010. I agree – it has changed (sadly) beyond recognition. I did manage to find the house where we used to live (!!) in Sembawang and spoke to the current owner (via his next door neighbour, who acted as interpreter) and told him the story. He was fascinated and invited me inside! Amazing. The house was still quite recognisable, so it was a nice (and quite emotional) trip down Memory Lane.
        As we left, I dredged my mind for the last of the few Hokkien words I could remember before saying to him “Kum xia” – thank you.

    1. Hi Trevor, that’s a good question! I suppose it really comes down to your own beliefs – the entire theme park (Haw Par Villa) seems a little haunted, but the 10 courts of hell definitely has a feeling of freight! ๐Ÿ™‚ Are you planning on going?

  9. I have read so many articles or reviews about the blogger lovers but this article is really a
    nice article, keep it up.

  10. I remembered when I was 13 or 14 I forgot to pay back the food that I ordered then I feel so guilty about paying back right now I think that I need to pay back for what I have done

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