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Zooming in on daily life in Singapore’s Little India

March 13, 2009

Finding Little India in Singapore is relatively easy, simply follow your smell and sound senses. Little India’s exotic aromas – incense, spices, floral – will lure you along to the booming beat of Bollywood style music.

When you’ve reached this place, be prepared to zoom in and focus on it. Life in Little India is exciting and real. Perhaps it’s the colourful combination of aromatic food, eastern religion, and contemporary music. Whatever the secret recipe is, it’s the smaller details that make it stand apart from its neighbours.

by Cate

by Cate

For some reason when I walked around Little India, I chose to zoom in instead of looking at the big picture. Floral temple offerings sat alongside bottles of cooking oil. Bookstall tables lined with magazines told of happenings back home in India.

by Cate

by Cate

Even private homes above shops described the origins of Little India. Historically each one being the same as the other, now with a touch of individuality.

by Cate

by Cate

It’s the smallest detail that often tells a bigger story. Detail that usually goes unnoticed by busy workers, focused shoppers, and awe struck tourists. It’s the detail that tells you the how, when, who, and why of a place.

by Cate

by Cate

Lotus Flowers — freshly picked, bought wholesale, just sprayed to moisten and attract; to be purchased by a devotee, to be placed as an offering at the local Hindu temple, or shrine. Everyday life.

Caffeinated Traveller

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9 Comments
  1. March 14, 2009 1:59 am

    Gorgeous photos! I loved this area of Singapore too – it really felt like India! Especially the spice shops/grocery stores and throngs of Indian people on the streets and in the restaurants – it had a great, bustling pace.

  2. March 14, 2009 2:21 pm

    You know – it’s strange how used to some ideas we become, while others stay so foreign. Growing up in and around Toronto, things like “china town” or “korea town” have lost all meaning to me. It just seems like a part of the city – so when I was in London I almost giggled at how ‘touristy’ their china town was – and how segregated it all was.

    Greek town, little Italy – these things also just seem so obvious to me. But the idea of a little India – I can’t really even fathom what such a place would be like.

    I’m so used to multiculturalism just stretching from one part of the city to the next, with pockets here and there – but lesser boarders.

  3. March 15, 2009 5:03 am

    hey Cate,

    Thanks for dropping by. It is really nice to read another person’s notes on Singapore, just when I am seeing the same place myself. Memories of Little India re more from an earlier trip – but then, may be I am not missing much just as I get set to go back home.

  4. Bear permalink
    March 15, 2009 12:53 pm

    I like all the colors and particularly the lotus buds 🙂

    • March 16, 2009 9:53 am

      PB – like you I’m familiar with the Chinatowns and Koreatowns of the world, Little India was just something different. It’s good to see these kinds of treats as it makes me realise how different these cultures are even if they call themselves Asian; and that Chinese were not the only ones moving around years ago. KL also has a LI, unfortunately I ran out of time and couldn’t visit it.
      Girl in Asia -Thanks! It is a colourful spicy combination. Great if you love Indian food – which I do. I knew a guy one who thought the best Indian curries he tasted were not from India but Singapore.
      Ms. N – maybe you can agree or disagree with my comment above.
      Bear – I always think of colours being synonymous to India. That’s how I see it. The Lotus flowers weren’t bad, for an amateur 😛

  5. Erica Johansson permalink
    March 19, 2009 5:27 pm

    “It’s the detail that tells you the how, when, who, and why of a place.” Well said! I agree to 100%.

    Beautiful pictures too…

    • March 22, 2009 5:54 am

      Erica – the photos are colorful, that’s what Little India is about. Plus having a good lens helps 🙂

  6. March 24, 2009 4:39 am

    well – i personally like checking such neighbourhoods out – touristy or not. some places u can see stark differences, like when i went to China town (my first China town also) in NY. Some places – like chinatown in Sing, is really more a market for the tourists… so one never knows. but if u can even get a glimpse of a place and culture that may have been, i think its worth it.

  7. July 3, 2009 10:00 pm

    I have visited Litttle India several times, the people here are friendly and easy going. I find indian temples even more colourful and inspiring. If you happened to be there, pay a visit to Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple or Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple along Serangoon Road and you will be amazed. If you have a thing for curry or indian food, there are many good indian restaurants along Chander Road and Race Course Road.

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