Of all the ethnic enclaves of Singapore, Little India is the most lively and colorful city. With small narrow alleys and a lively community, things can get a little messy here – unlike the rest of Singapore. Keep your cameras ready for the unexpected views and come on an empty stomach to eat all the good food here. Let’s check our guide to the 7 best things to do in Little India.
1. Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
The Sri Srinivasa Perumal temple along Serangoon Road is a Hindu temple built in the late 1800s, dedicated to Sri Srinivasa Perumal or Lord Vishnu, the conservator and protector of the universe. Formerly known as Narasinga Perumal Kovil, this Little India temple is known for its five-level gopuram or guard tower covered with many avatars of Vishnu and other Hindu deities. The temple is the starting point for Kavadi bearers during the annual Thaipusam celebrations.
2. Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple
The Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya temple is also called the Temple of a Thousand Lights, because of the 15 meter high and 300 ton statue surrounded by what appear to be thousands of small lights housed within its walls. This Little India Buddhist temple in Singapore is an eclectic mix of Chinese, Thai and Indian styles dating back to 1927. Built by Thai monk Venerable Vutthisasara as a simple zinc roof shelter, it was then built in its current form thanks to donations from Aw Boon Har and Aw Boon Par – the entrepreneurial brothers who created the Tiger Balm and Haw Par Villa medicinal ointment.
3. House of Tan Teng Niah
Tan Teng Niah’s house stands out in Little India with its bright rainbow hues, but also because it is one of the last surviving Chinese villas in a largely Indian enclave. Its former owner Tan Teng Niah was a businessman who owned several confectionery factories along Serangoon Road and a rubber smokehouse, and was said to have built this house for his wife. The house was originally white and green, its kaleidoscopic colors were only added more recently, and today the building houses several commercial offices.
4. Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
One of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temples, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is dedicated to its namesake, better known as the goddess and destroyer of evil Kali. This temple was transformed into a building by the main immigrants and Indian settlers in Singapore in the interior of the 19th century – it then became known as the Soonambu Kambam Kovil, Tamil for “temple inside the village of lime ”, A reference to the many lime kilns of the world Despite the air raids of the Second World War, the temple escaped unscathed and was renovated several times in view of this, which is undoubtedly worth being settled if you visit Little India.
5. Mustafa Centre
Insomniacs love the Mustafa Center because it is open 24 hours a day and contains just about everything in the sun – with more than 300,000 items stored on four floors and at cheaper prices to start with. It is not uncommon to find people shopping in the wee hours of the night in this little treasure of India. Established in 1971 as a garment workshop at Campbell Lane, the Mustafa Center now includes visa services, travel agencies, jewelry, restaurants and even a hotel.
6. Tekka Centre
Tekka Center is home to a hawker center with a wide variety of good, inexpensive street food – Indian food is especially good at this historically popular wet market known for fresh produce. It also houses a multitude of various small stalls selling everything that covers household items, religious paraphernalia and even sewing services. The name Tekka comes from Teh Kia Kah or Tek Kah, a Hokkian name meaning “bamboo foot”, a reference to the many bamboo plants growing along the Rochor canal. Visit our article on the best restaurants in Little India, Singapore.
7. Little India Arcade
The Little India Arcade is a collection of shophouses that date back to the 1920s, with narrow alleyways selling all sorts of sundry and novelties alongside street food stalls and other eateries. It is a tourist favourite to pick up all sorts of Indian souvenirs, whether it’s fresh floral garlands or intricate textiles, or even a traditional henna tattoo if you so desire. The building has been preserved to retain some of that nostalgic flavour from its early Colonial days.