SINGAPORE: The colours of Little India

As soon as I booked our trip to Singapore, the one place that I really wanted to visit was Little India. Singapore is a melting pot of cultures having no less than four official languages: English, Mandarin, Malay & Tamil, and through it’s history has attracted people from all over the world that now call Singapore home. Due to it’s diverse cultural heritage you can travel to a totally different world in just a few MRT stops.

It’s colonial history, modern buildings and English signage makes parts of Singapore feel somewhat familiar, but step into Little India and you know you’re ‘not in Kansas anymore’. It’s a treat for the senses. Old shop houses painted in the most saturated of hues, stores selling spices, fruit and fragrant flower garlands – everything is intense and vibrant.

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

Street Vendor Little India. Photo by Emma

Emma and I spent our first morning wandering the area surrounding Little India MRT station. When you pop up topside, from the cool air of the air conditioned station, head towards the tall light blue housing towers and along Buffalo Rd which is full of fresh produce stores and other colourful wares, then you’ll stumble across what I suspect is one of Singapore’s most Instagramed buildings, Tan House.

I gave Emma her own camera to use on the trip, most of the photos were way too blurry to use, but she manged a couple of good shots which I’ve included here.

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

House of Tan Teng Niah , Little India Singapore

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

Colourful food court seating surrounding Tan House.

We didn’t get a chance to eat in Little India as we had a pre-arranged lunch date, but both the open air food court next to Tan House and the Hawker food area at Tekka Center come recommended. Because it was early many of the food places hadn’t opened yet, but I suspect this place is buzzing in the evening.

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

Even mundane house hold objects are colourful in Little India.

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

Clay diyas (lamps) use oil or ghee with a cotton wick – you’ll see them used in temples.

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

Chilies for sale – photo by Emma

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

Watch the accompanying video to see how these garlands are made with fresh flowers.

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

Bangles are sold by the dozen, Emma convinced me to buy her a pink glitter set which shed glitter all over Singapore.

A walk down Serangoon Rd brought us to the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Little India’s most colourful Hindu temple dedicated to the ferocious goddess Kali. Emma was fascinated by some of the more graphic statues that depicted her wearing skulls and ripping out the insides of her victims. Fun times.

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

If you are visiting a Hindu Temple, ensure you are respectful by:

  • Removing your shoes – there are racks outside to hold them.
  • Dress modestly with shoulders and legs covered – avoid singlets and shorts.
  • Turn off your phone or put it on silent mode.
  • Speak quietly so as not to disturb worshipers
  • Ask if photography is allowed, and if it is, be respectful when taking photos and avoid using flash.

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

I am not a spiritual person but am fascinated by rituals and the sense of community that surrounds places like temples and churches. People watching fascinates me, but I hope it just comes across as enthusiastic curiosity in wanting to better understand a different culture, and not as voyeuristic. When the chap pictured below came up to me whilst I was taking a photo, I was worried I’d asked the wrong person about permission and that taking photos was not allowed.  But I needn’t have been concerned, he just wanted to show me the best photography vantage point, up a little flight of stairs in a restricted area. In that moment I knew that all visitors were welcome here and felt at ease.

A tour of Little india Singapore mypoppet.com.au

Getting there:
Little India MRT station – North East Line & Downtown Line

Visit:
House of Tan Teng Niah
37 Kerbau Rd, Little India, Singapore 219168

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
141 Serangoon Rd, Singapore 218042

 

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Travel guide to Little India Singapore

6 Comments

  • Mary says:

    Cintia, Thank you for sharing your trip to Singapore, the color is wonderful. I love the picture your daughter took of the chilies. I want to go there now.
    Mary

    • Cintia @ My Poppet says:

      She certainly has a good eye for photos, when she can stay still enough to take a shot that is.

  • Sharon Jones says:

    Loved reading this post ….. brought back many happy memories of a trip to Singapore I made many years ago.
    Makes me want to go again.

    • Cintia @ My Poppet says:

      You’re not alone, I’ve only just returned and would love to go back again. I’m really enjoying re-living the experience though my photos and blog posts.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hi there, I’m a Singaporean follower of yours and really loved your post on Little India! You’re helping me look at an area I’ve been to a couple of times before with a pair of fresh eyes 🙂 Love the photographs!

    • Cintia @ My Poppet says:

      Thanks Elizabeth. It’s always interesting to look at your own city with fresh eyes. I should really do that more in my home town of Melbourne. I think when you get caught up with daily life you just stick to the places and routine you are comfortable with.

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