Thursday, April 26, 2012

Singapore: Little India is Singapore's Tamil neighborhood

One reason I love visiting Singapore is because they have preserved significant cultural quarters within the modern city. These include Chinatown, Arab Street and Haji Lane, and Little India which was quite close to the hostel I was staying at along Lavender Street. So from the Little Red Dot, I walked along Jalan Besar (which also has some creative examples of adaptive reuse of old shop houses) to the Tamil ethnic neighborhood of Little India.

It's was quite an interesting walk around Little India which the local Tamils call Tekka. You get to see, smell, taste, hear and feel Tamil culture as you explore the preserved shop houses that line its streets.

Little India Arcade offers visitors a convenient concentration of crafts and souvenir shops. Of course, Little India is also a place where you can get really good Tamil food.

Just like in Singapore's culturally rich neighborhoods, there is a mix of cultures in Little India. It's major places of worship (and attractions) includes the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and the Abdul Gaffoor Mosque.

The main deity of the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is the Hindu goddess Kali who is associated with empowerment. Bengali workers built the temple in 1881 which might explain why the temple was dedicated to Kali, with devotion to goddess being popular in Bengal. While the Abdul Gafoor Mosque, built in 1859, features Arabian and Renaissance-style architecture.

How to get to Little India
Take the MRT to Little India or Farrer Park

Check out more photos of Little India in the Ivan About Town Facebook page.
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