Little India in historic Singapore

Little India in historic Singapore goes back to 1840

Little India in Singapore is an exciting old town that is now completely revitalized. The district once had an important gallop track, where “better people” often met. Cattle were traded in the middle of the district, and the food was made in brick ovens in the middle of the street. Those were pioneer days.

But while these places and people are gone, there is still a well-preserved time pocket in this historic district.

Street vendors sell their wares alongside newer businesses: flower and jewelry street vendors, modern eateries, boutique hotels as well as art galleries. It is colorful and vibrant.

Little India, Singapore, shopping street

Little India, Singapore, rather busy, shopping street

“Little India” in Singapore and the colorful past

The colorful past could be seen from the 1840s when Europeans lived here mainly due to the racetrack, where they met, showed off, had fun and did business and of course, played the ponies.

When the cattle trade arose in those years, it was mainly Indians who were in charge of this trade, as the local cattle breeders had Indian immigrant workers hired for this job. It took with it the need for other sales and other services, such as a food markets and restaurants, and mosques and Hindu temples were built for the growing number of Indians.

Buzzing culture in Little India

Little India today is one of Singapore’s busiest districts. As you walk down Serangoon Road and the nearby streets, you can explore the place’s mix of shopping, eateries, Hindu and Chinese temples, mosques and churches.

Fill your stomach with delicious and authentic South Indian vegetarian food, North Indian tandoori dishes and local food like roti prata (round pancakes) and teh-tarik (drawn tea in Malaysian). Watch the brewing of the hot milky – it’s great showmanship.

Do not forget to shop. The 24-hour Mustafa Center offers everything from electronics to groceries, or choose from Tekka Center, outdoor shops and sari shops.

With its proximity to the city and a bohemian vibe, many artists also call Little India their home.



Visit Little India during Deepavali (usually October or November) and Pongal (mid-January) – the happy festivities are fascinating to observe.

Diwali, Divali, Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights, usually lasting five days and celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November). One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.[5]The festival is widely associated with Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity, but regional traditions connect it to Sita and Rama, Vishnu, Krishna, Yama, Yami, Durga, Kali, Dhanvantari, or Vishvakarman.

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