Singapore’s answer to a multi-racial country with its own ethnic enclaves can be found distinctly in Little India. To experience these unique treats to your senses, alight at Little India MRT station, not far away from the rest of the action.
Little India was a former settlement for Indian convicts and when Indians moved to this area in search of work as a number of buffalo yards and brick kilns were opened and cattle were reared due to the location of the Serangoon River, the population grew in numbers. This might also be the reason for the naming of the roads, Buffalo Road and Kerbau Road (Kerbau means Buffalo in Malay).
Little India is where one would be able to smell the jasmine garlands and heady spices used for cooking and religious purposes, hear the upbeat and chirpy Hindi music blasting from the tiny music stores, literally taste the curries in the air, and see women walking around leisurely in bright-coloured saris. Walking along the five-foot ways of the refurbished shophouses, one might drop by a handicraft store where you can feel and admire at intricate Indian designs.
Serangoon Road, being the oldest road in Singapore and marked on Ancient Maps as “the road through the island”, is the support of this unique ethnic enclave. At the south end of Serangoon Road, you can have your hands painted in henna or have fortunes told by a fortuneteller’s parakeet, just outside Tekka Centre. Turning down towards the parallel running Race Course Road, you will see the many classy and chic restaurants offering authentic Indian food and a few temples, including Leong San See Temple and Sakaya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple. At the northern end of Little India lies Mustafa Centre, Singapore's only 24 hour department store and a sight in itself. Just try to count the number of products they squeeze into every square meter!
So let down defences and try experiencing the Indian culture by eating with one’s fingers off a plate lined with a banana leaf for starters at Banana Leaf Apolo.
To see it all, take our Little India Walking Tour and get the best of Little India.