Little India Exudes Charm and History

Leave the glitzy Orchard shopping belt and enter Little India, a more nostalgic, dingy part of Singapore and the famous enclave of the Indian community situated along Serangoon Road, which is believed to be derived from the Malay phrase, “Serang dengan gung”, meaning to scare away with gongs. In the early days, people journeyed in groups and beat drums and gongs to protect themselves from wild animals while passing by the area. Today, foreign visitors to Singapore, especially those from India, Middle East and Africa arrive in drones to visit this tourist attraction during the weekend. Many locals are also attracted to the enclave for its rich cultural heritage and shopping opportunities.

You will be immediately reminded of your destination as the welcoming aromas of exotic spice of the East waft along the street. Walking along the narrow aisles of the old five-foot ways with the jostling crowds is quite an experience. The place typically features a thriving and vibrant collection of shops, restaurants, florists, money changers, fruit sellers and herb dealers. Many visitors are found busy taking shots of the religious sites here, simply embracing and immersing themselves in the thick traditional Indian ambience. The colourful array of merchandise can be spell bounding as your eyes are treated to an endless display of traditional Indian cakes, nylon sarees, fresh stringed flower garlands, costumes, sarongs, textiles, ornaments, crafts, henna dyes, and Ayurvedic medicine. And if all these are still not enough to satisfy your shopping frenzy, head down Syed Alwi Road where the biggest and most famous store in the premise looms – the 24-hr Mustafa Centre, a must-stop destination in Little India. When long hours of shopping take a toll, drop by the old Tekka Market to rest your feet, sip a glass of hot teh tarik (milk tea) and titillate your taste buds with a packet of tasty nasi lemak (steamed coconut rice with sweet sambal chilli) wrapped in fragrant banana leaf.

Between October and November, during the Hindu Festival of Lights – Deepavali or Diwali, the streets of Little India are magically transformed into a vibrant, glittering land decorated with elaborate and colourful neon lights, candle decorations and flower garlands. It is an exuberating experience to be soaked in the festive spirit, especially when the night draws in and the entire place becomes an overwhelming beautiful, bustling spectacle to behold.

Pungent whiffs of Indian spices awaken all senses as you walk along the narrow aisles of the old shop houses' five-foot ways with the jostling crowds.

Pungent whiffs of Indian spices awaken all senses as you walk along the narrow aisles of the old shop houses’ five-foot ways with the jostling crowds.

 

A small white colonial building stands in stark contrast to the rest of the facade.

A small white colonial building stands in stark contrast to the rest of the facade.

 

Visit the frame shop, textile house, dance school, art gallery… and of course the coconut man! Drink fresh from his on-the-spot juicing of fresh coconut and sugar cane. What an instant gratification on a hot and humid day!

Visit the frame shop, textile house, dance school, art gallery… and of course the coconut man! Drink fresh from his on-the-spot juicing of fresh coconut and sugar cane. What an instant gratification on a hot and humid day!



End of “Little India Exudes Charm and History” Back to “Celebrating Deepavali in Singapore”.

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