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My Escapes Singapore Bustling, Colourful Singapore Little India

Little India

May 30, 2014
July 19, 2014

One of my first targets in Singapore was Little India. A vast ethnic neighbourhood with striking contrastful architecture and spicy smells almost everywhere...

Little India is a bit more inland than Chinatown, part of the Rochor area.

The local Tamil community calls Little India simply Tekka. In a way, it is to the Tamils what Chinatown is to the Chinese community.


Jaw-opening contrast

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A Bit of History First...

Little India was formed under the so-called Raffles Plan of Singapore, when the British ethnically divided colonial Singapore. This literally meant racial segregation.

Fine decorations

Fine decorations on the buildings

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The Tamil community used to raise cattle, therefore the area along the Serangoon River was adequate for this kind of activity. So, many settled in this area for this reason.

Strange high-rise building

Strong blue building with wicked high-rise house block

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It is said that only by the 20th century did this area develop into a well-defined Tamil ethnic district.

Today, it is called Little India and it's promoted as one of the main ethnic districts of Singapore.
A truly great place to visit, indeed...

And: if you want to see contrast, then come here. You'll find the most unusual colour combinations here!

Although, I can't help mentioning than many of the buildings that I saw in the area have a lot more to do with Chinese and European architecture than with any form of Indian architecture.

By observing the buildings there I couldn't help noticing the European elements and a strong Chinese feel - some houses were strikingly similar to what I encountered in Chinatown.

Of course - the Tamils of Singapore reside in all parts of Singapore, not just in Little India.

Little India is an old historic district, part of Singapore's cultural heritage, reason why it is so well-promoted in tourist brochures, on websites...

Today, it is one of Singapore's main hotspots, so missing out would be a shame... It was one of my first targets in Singapore.

Getting There and How it Felt Like

I got to Little India by MRT. It was fairly easy...
There's actually a Little India MRT station, so that's where I got out from the ground.

Sun shining

The piercing Sun rays reminded me I was in a tropical country...

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I walked around and checked out a few shops and examined the buildings carefully. I must have spent around 2 hours there: walking and photographing every detail I could find.

Groceries and fruits

A local groceries and fruits seller... Admire all those types of bananas!

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As I explored, restaurants' employees kindly invited me in, I kept on thanking them and apologizing for not going in.


Curry was in the air... Typically Indian, of course...

Hey, it's a little piece of India, after all!

Now let's see which are the main attractions...

Attractions of Little India, Walkaround

The main attractions include: Masjid Abdul Gaffoor, the Anguilla Mosuqe, the Tan Teng Niah House, the Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple, the Veeramakaliamman Temple, the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple.

Tan Teng Niah House

The colourful Tan Teng Niah House on Kerbau Street

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Overall, I'd say the entire Little India is an attraction. I walked on the streets and admired the striking contrast.

Nevertheless, there is a difference between the colours seen here and those in Chinatown. The latter reflected plenty of warm colours, like orange, red, yellow...

Gandhi Memorial

Gandhi Memorial

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But Little India had a lot of green and blue. Not to mention, rather unusual combinations of purple-blue-orange and others like: apple green with orange and blue...

It can't be confused with Chinatown.

Anguilla Mosque

The Anguilla Mosque

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Also: Little India had more life in it than Chinatown. I paid several visits to Chinatown and despite being centrally-located, it felt a bit ghost-townish at the time of my visit - perhaps there were solid reasons for that, I do not know...

Veeramakaliamman Temple

The Veeramakaliamman Temple

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Little India was even crowded in some areas (unlike Chinatown).
There were plenty of people in and around restaurants, in and around grocery sellers.

Veeramakaliamman Temple details

More details of the Veeramakaliamman Temple

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I was feeling terribly bad due to jet lag and having had tonnes of coffee during the two conference days before this visit to Little India. So I felt like I was about to pass out (!).

I sat down as many times as I could, wherever I could... But the thick hot air that was hard to breather, the piercing burning Sun rays felt were very hard to cope with.

Busy street

Just a busy street...

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Only then did I realize how important it is to take adequate rest and potentially even totally cut out drinking anything that contains caffeine.

The strong green tea in the morning, the jet lag, the two full conferences with two after parties, drinking too much coffee during the conference hours, have accumulated their effect and all ignited during my visit to Little India.

House blocks in the distance

House blocks in the distance

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Take my advice: in a situation when you're traveling to long distances, try minimizing caffeine intake and don't force yourself to be wide awake with green tea. It will have a terrible adverse affect!
More so: it will block your organism from being able to cope with the jet lag stress and the new climatic conditions.

(My jet lag fighting techniques will help you cope, if you find yourself in a similar situation).

My visiting of Little India ended somewhere around the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple - a splendid Hindu temple, built in 1881.

I then continued my walk to the Sim Lim Square...

More photos of Little India can be admire below...

Indian temple

Beautiful temple in green environment

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Weird blue

This weird blue struck me!

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Small mosque

The roof section of a small mosque hiding between store houses

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Another busy street

Busy street at the edge of Little India

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Worn-down house block

The small light blue house is soooooo cute!

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Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


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