In-Depth: Little India

Located west of the Singapore River and just across from Chinatown, Little India is a vibrant and fascinating area with plenty going on. There are many interesting attractions and experiences, with culture and history galore. A blend of architectural styles can be found throughout the ethnic enclave and there are loads of terrific places to eat, drink, and shop.

Known as Tekka within the local community, here are some highlights of Little India:

Sri Veeramakalianmman Temple

The oldest temple in Little India, the stunning Tamil Hindu temple dates back to the late 1800s. Many members of the local community still go here to pray and make offerings and it is particularly busy on the special Hindu celebrations and festivals. An intricate and colourful tiered pagoda, known as a goporum, sits proudly over the main entrance. You can see Hindu gods and goddesses, people, animals, flowers, and sacred symbols amongst the detailed stone carvings.

Leong San See Temple

Leong San See Temple is a Chinese Taoist temple. Although fairly small the spiritual atmosphere is strong. Attracting large numbers of local devotees, the temple is in honour of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. Built in 1917, the temple’s name translates into English as the Dragon Mountain Temple. Upon walking through a ceremonial arch to get to the temple you will immediately notice the colourful and decorative roof, complete with striking and fearsome traditional dragons, flowers, and statues of people.

Sakaya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple

A beautiful Thai Buddhist Temple, Sakaya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple is also sometimes referred to as the Temple of a Thousand Lights because of the many sparkling lights that surround the main golden Buddha statue. Pretty and serene, you will probably notice people making merit and kneeling before the revered Buddha image giving thanks, asking for luck, and paying their respects. There are other smaller Buddha statues in various poses to admire too.

Delicious Cuisine

An abundance of restaurants, big and small, hole in the wall style eateries, and street carts will certainly satisfy any desires for tasty Indian fare. If the sights and sounds of cooking aren’t enough to tempt you try a nibble, the enticing smells will surely get your digestive juices flowing! With a terrific selection of veggie-friendly dishes and meals that will make any meat-lover smile, Little India is a great place at mealtimes. Many places will tailor the spiciness levels to your requirements too. Try one of the delicious curries, accompanied by rice or freshly-baked breads, dip rotis into small dishes of deliciousness, snack on samosas, bhajis, pakora, potato fritters, kofta, spring rolls … and more! The prices are usually pretty reasonable for a great feed too. Round off with a cup of chai or a lassi.

Little India offers some excellent shopping opportunities in places like the Mustafa Centre, Tekka Market, Little India Arcade, and Sim Lim IT Mall. Buys colourful saris and beautiful bangles, have a temporary henna tattoo, look out for people making teh tarik, admire old shop houses, visit Sri Perumal Temple, and enjoy the sometimes rough around the edges charms and character of Little India.