Singapore's Little India

Little India is one of the landmarks of Singapore. India's connection with Singapore counts many hundred years. Even the island's name comes from the Sanskrit "Singa Pura" which means "Lion City". Several thousand Indians arrived in Singapore in 1819, when Lord Raffles decided to found a colony of the British Empire here. At that time rice paddies, sugar cane fields and vegetable plots covered the site of modern Little India. At first the place attracted livestock traders. As a reminder of those days you still find a Buffalo Road in Little India, as well as a Kerbau Road, kerbau being Malay for buffalo. Soon, however, as the population of Indians grew, shops, administrative buildings and temples began to appear. The most famous among the early shrines is the Sri Viramakaliamman Temple, dedicated to goddess Kali and built in 1881.

Currently, Indians make up 8% of the population of Singapore. They come from different parts of India and speak different languages. One of the official languages of Singapore is Tamil.
Once you are in Little India, you feel as if you are in real India. In many stores and little shops you can buy anything Indian: silk saris, gold bangles, sweets, spices, figurines of all kinds of gods.

The air is full of scent of spices and all kinds of barkers on every corner invite you to enjoy Indian cuisine in their restaurant. Especially popular dish is Fish Head Curry, the main part of which (naturally) is fish head of large size, swimming in sauce and served with rice and vegetables. Exotic, but I must say, sooo hot, real fire in your mouth. One of the best places preparing this dish is the Apolo Banana Leaf restaurant.

If all Singapore Citizens observe traffic regulations (crossing the street at a green light in strictly designated areas), in Little India most people generally just ignore the rule and go wherever and whenever they want. Therefore, traffic in this part of Singapore is slower.
Opposite Serangoon Plaza there is a hotel Fortuna. They say that it is haunted. The fact is that at this place once stood another hotel, which collapsed in spring 1986, killing 33 people. In its place a new one was built, but it seems that the souls of those who died here did not like it, and now they go at night around the hotel and disturb its guests.

The most famous shopping mall of Little India is Mustafa Centre. Here you can buy almost everything at the lowest price in Singapore, although not always of good quality. The mall also has an "Indian face" - the passages are narrow and cluttered with boxes and merchandise to the ceiling. One Singaporean taxi driver said that he never goes to Mustafa, as (I quote) "in case of fire you can not get out of the maze of narrow passages. And you’ll turn into a barbecue."

Now the streets of Little India are decorated for Dipawali, and the shelves of shops offer different kinds of festive goods - images of the goddess Lakshmi, fireworks, firecrackers, garlands (both floral and electrical), oil lamps. The streets are filled with crowds of people until late at night; from all the corners the latest Bollywood hits can be heard.


  1. Nice photos. I gave you a link in the resources section of this article about Little India.

  2. Superb pics of Little India. Loved it.

  3. Thanks for sharing. Dipawali celebration make little india streets look more beautiful.