© Singapore Tourism Board
A multitude of festivals, events, social projects, epicurean journeys, community activities, art collaborations, smart technology initiatives – a whole year of buzz, an unceasing zest of passion, LISHA revels in showcasing the precinct’s uniquely vibrant and harmonious intercultural spirit on the local and global stage.
HISTORICAL BEGINNING OF INDIAN ENCLAVE
OFFICIAL RECOGNITION OF LITTLE INDIA DISTRICT
The Little India Shopkeepers & Heritage Association organises yearly mega festivities, such as the Deepavali light up, Deepavali festive village, Pongal festivities & village, Tamil New Year celebrations and Singapore food festival with the support from Singapore Tourism Board. Other Hindu festivals like Thaipusam and Navarathiri are also widely celebrated in the precinct.
Little India is a food haven with its eclectic smorgasbord of culinary offerings. The main draw is the diverse regional cuisines of South Asia, which many true-blue Indians have proclaimed are even better than some of the best in the sub-continent! Beyond ethnic Indian restaurants, you should embark on an international foodie journey without leaving the precinct. From Mexican tacos to a 60-year old Dim Sum shop to local hawker fare, it’s irresistible to make extra pitstops while exploring Little India.
Before the genesis of Little India, the precinct bored scant semblance of its present South Asian ethnicity. The 1840s saw Europeans of chiefly British stock lived and mingled here – their lives revolving around a racecourse, hence the streets named Racecourse Road, Dunlop Street and Campbell Lane. Indians started their convergence once cattle trading, betel nut plantations and brick kilns took root. The fortuitous huddle also brought together opportunists of other races and beliefs. Chinese temples, mosques and the House of Tan Teng Niah thus flourished, making Little India a cultural center, vibrant and colourful and IG-worthy!
As a hood that proliferated organically, and rather fortuitously, Little India straddles ethnic groups, embodying the inter-racial and multicultural provenance of Singapore. Hindu temples, mosques, churches and Chinese temples continue to co-exist harmoniously. In total, there are 11 places of worship in Little India. As one of the oldest Hindu temples in Singapore, the imposing Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, centrally located along the main thoroughfare of Serangoon Road, remains the precinct’s most spectacular place of worship.
Little India Heritage Trail - Walk of Faiths (Roots)
Expect everything from the uber-bling mega malls to the winsome niche mom-and-pop shops crammed into this 0.28km² ethnic enclave. Locals and tourists love to throng the streets and malls of Little India to shop for anything from fresh produce and jewellery to antiques and electronics. While a lot less chaotic than the real mccoys back in India, Little India Singapore still retains its distinct charm without degenerating into a mere tourist attraction and is one of the most colourful and unique places to shop in Singapore.
3 Best Clothing Stores in Little India (ThreeBestRated)
Little India exudes bohemian-hipster vibes with distinctive and IG-worthy murals and street art; a sharp contrast to the pristine and sans-graffiti streetscape on the island. Stroll along the enclave’s back alleys, and your eyes will be peeled on flamboyantly detailed murals showcasing Singapore’s colourful past.
A good mix of Singapore’s best guesthouses and hostels are found here, as well as uber-cool mid-priced boutique hotels. For those who want to get to know a less pristine and methodic Singapore, there isn’t any district as colourful or as vibrant. Central location, scrumptious cheap eats, a 24-hour mega-store, ethnic deep-dive and 2 nearby subway stations make Little India a popular locale for globetrotting hipsters and nomadic backpackers.
The enclave is an easy ride away, served by the following MRT stations: Little India, Farrer Park on the North East line, and Rochor and Jalan Besar on the Downtown line. Bus services 23, 64, 65, 66, 67, 131, 139, 147, 857 & NR6 pass through Little India via Serangoon Road. However, Little India is a precinct with a labyrinth of streets, lanes, back alleys, cross junctions and nooks & corners. Unless you have time to explore this mazy enclave, or prefer to be a serendipitous traveller, joining one of the official Little India Walking Trails is an expedient option.
© Singapore Tourism Board