Take a stroll through Singapore’s Little India and experience that extraneous atmosphere without having to cross the breadth of India itself.
When speaking of India, one of the first few things that come to mind is curry, saris and a raving sitar solo plucked by a Sikh in full turban and flowing beard. That is exactly what hits you the moment you get off whatever mode of transportation and set foot in one of Singapore’s (albeit dirty) heritage gems – Little India.
The smell of cloves, brilliant colours of garlands, peacock feathers and the sight of Bangladeshi workers stuffing themselves with roti prata while glued to an old LED television screen blaring the latest Bollywood tunes is truly a remarkable sight in Singapore.
Commence your Tamil tour on Lower Serangoon Road or Kerbau Road if you are stepping out from the MRT station, and prepare to lose yourself in a maze of side streets and alleyways which delineate the Little india Arcade. Wend your way through and be amazed by the riot of colours and the assorted mingle of scents of heady spices wafting through the air. Garland stall owners would be more than happy to display their skills in weaving a flower bedecked garland on the spot, and tailors will clamour to sell their exotic imported silk cloths and finely woven saris.
Retrace your steps back past Kerbau Road into Chander Road and uncover a veritable section of shop houses, cheap liquor stores and even best pokies online the occasional Chinese kopitiam. Despite looking run-down and shady looking, it is a perfect place to tempt the palate with cheap and good Indian cuisine such as Thosai, a crispy, South Indian pancake or Masala, an Indian paste which is made from a mixture of spices and other ingredients to give flavour, usually served with chicken and lamb.
For lovers of religion and architecture, the Sri Veeramakaliammam temple along Serangoon Street is one of three prominent Hindu temples dedicated to the Goddess Kali. The name of the temple itself means “Kali the Courageous”. Built in 1881 by Bengali labourers, the temple houses an impressive sculptures and statues, fleshed out with incredibly life-like colours that you would be forgiven if you thought they were real.
If you walk further along Serangoon Road to where it intersects with Syed Alwi Road, you’ll find Mustafa Shopping Centre, a massive six storey complex housing an impressive selection of 75,000 items and services, with everything from jewellery and luggage bags to cheap electronic goods and travel tours. If you are looking to shop in Little India, this place has enough unorthodox and wacky baubles to keep one occupied for hours on end.
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