As the name implies, Little India is the center where the large Indian community in Singapore exists. Just like when you think of Singapore’s Chinatown. Little India retains its popular uniqueness without degenerating into a mere tourist attraction and is one of the most colorful and attractive places to visit in Singapore. Little India’s main attraction is Serangoon Road; it starts at Rochor Canal Rd and continues northward to Serangoon. Most of the happening is tightly concentrated a few blocks on either side of the road, and is accessible by foot. Getting taxis in Little India can be difficult, especially on weekends. It is wise to either book by phone or head to the major roads on the edges to wilt one.
Little India’s primary attraction is the town itself, where you can find the festive painted shop houses that are a trademark of Singapore. Most of the Tamil signs now is close to disappearing to be replaced with Hindi, Bengali and other Indian scripts. Stores sells saris and gold bangles, spices and incense waft in from the doorways and Bollywood’s latest soundtracks blare from every other alleyway. The Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple at Serangoon Road is the busiest and oldest temple, its present structure completed in 1986, although it dates back to 1881. The temple is particularly busy on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. It is imperative to remove your shoes before going inside.
One can enjoy and join in the festivities in Little India. The festival of Thaipusam, held yearly during the full moon usually Jan/Feb. Male devotees attach ornate shrines to their flesh with piercing hooks known as kavadi and walk across town in a day-long procession. Female devotees would usually just carry a pot of milk on their head and join the procession. The procession starts from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road and proceeds to the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple at Tank Road.
Around Deepavali, the Hindu festival of light, Serangoon Road is festively decorated with lights and open-air markets are set up to sell Deepavali goodies. Like Thaipusam, the exact date is set by the lunar calendar, it takes place in October/November and is consider a public holiday. Near the beginning of Deepavali, the fire walking festival of Thimithi is held, where many male devotees will walk across a platform of burning coal. Though the actual fire walking takes place at the Sri Mariammam temple in Chinatown, the procession starts at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road and makes its way to Chinatown early in the morning where the fire walking starts. Another event happens every Sunday evening joined by half-million workers from the subcontinent to hang out on their day off. The Mustafa Game rather sounding somewhat perverse or illegal, it is named such because it takes place at Mustafa Centre in Little India. It’s usually a fun and spontaneous game for all ages. The idea is to trawl through the forgotten and buried delights contained within two blocks and spread over 6 floors in order to find the best, craziest or most dangerous thing you can as gifts for your fellow players. So what’s in store then? Everyone is given 30 minutes plus a 10SGD spending limit. It is important to define a meeting spot as the shop is very busy especially on Sundays.
As for the whole Singapore, shopping is of course a never ending quest as the central streets of Little India are packed with stalls selling all sorts of Indian goods. Two huge and famous shopping centers, however, are unique not just in Little India but all of Singapore, one is the Tekka Market located at Buffalo Rd. Little India is a bustle of car horns, bicycle bells and the vibrant chatter of its residents. This excitement of sights smells and sounds in Tekka Market is only a short walk from Little India MRT Station. The Tekka is a heap of stalls selling Indian, Malay and Chinese food drawing crowds from all over Singapore. There’s also a wet market stocked with the freshest vegetables, meat, fish, spices and flowers. Also available are souvenirs such as brass oil lamps and pots, or fresh garlands of jasmine, whose scent is signature aroma of Little India. Another one is the Tekka Mall, the only modern and fully air-conditioned shopping complex, located at Serangoon Rd.
If you want a dose of Indian Food, then this is the best place to indulge. Both southern and northern cuisines are well represented and the food is cheap even by Singaporean standards, servings are generous and vegetarians in particular can literally eat their hearts out. Since this is an authentic Indian place, everyone will eat Indian – meaning, by hand. It is not so bad to try and dig in the way the crowd does it, of course spoon and fork is always handy upon request. The Countryside Cafe & Bar at Dunlop Street is what we can say a place to go to especially for first timers, very cozy and reasonably priced Bar and cafe offering International Beers, Wines, Hard Liquor, Cocktails and soft Drinks and a range of Western, Indian, Japanese, Thai and Local food.
Accommodation is quite flexible as with neighboring Bugis, Little India is known to be Singapore’s backpacker district and has many hostels offering cheap lodging, as well as some of the most affordable hotels in town. Be reminded though that some of the cheap hotels around Desker Rd cater to the sex trade.