Exploring Singapore’s Little India

November 18, 2011 by

Free Things To Do, Sightseeing, Things To Do, Top Attractions

Little India

Some of the brightly-colored storefronts of Singapore's Little India

Singapore is home to a sizable Indian community, and Little India is where they congregate, worship and sell their wares.

Among the attractions in the area are Tekka Market (easily among the city’s largest wet markets); the Little India Arcade (an assemblage of Art Deco storefronts and houses where candies, saris, incense, and other items are offered for sale); and shops along Clive Street which sell day-to-day items such as pots and pans, rice, spices, brown cakes of palm sugar, red henna powder, and other Indian groceries. Sentimental soundtracks to Bollywood films emanate from shops along Buffalo Road, which sell saris, flower garlands and electronic equipment.

The iconic Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu the Preserver, is easily recognizable by the 60-foot-high sculptures depicting Vishnu in the nine forms in which he is said to have appeared on earth. Strict etiquette dictates that visitors remove their shoes before entering, where they can participate in the ritual of offering either a coconut or a banana, along with a slip of paper with their names written on it to a monk. He then proceeds to chant prayers on their behalf and anoint their foreheads with ceremonial ash.

The elaborate facade of the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (built in the 1880s by indentured Bengali laborers) is also worth a visit, as is the so-called “Temple of 1,000 Lights” (Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple) across the street from Leong San See Temple on Race Course Road.

- John Reality

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