Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trail #5: Little India

It's said that the only place in Singapore where you can get a birthday cake at 3 a.m. is at Mustafa. Wanting to see if it's true (not at 3 a.m. though), I embarked on a trail at Little India. 

Little India Trail
I did a Little India trail and here, I've marked the places on Google Map. If you are interested in retracing my footsteps, all you need to do is to print out the map and to follow it accordingly. Why I did this was because sometimes when I was travelling, I was often bothered by which sequence I should take in order to maximise my sightseeing.

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A. Rochor Centre 
Ordinarily, this shouldn't be part of the trail. However, I slotted this in because in the near future, this will be part of our history. It was built and completed in 1977 but will be demolished to make way for the construction for an expressway. Nowhere else in Singapore will you be able to see such happy coloured buildings! 

B. Abdul Gaffor Mosque
This mosque caters to mainly the Indian Muslims in Singapore. It is built in a fusion of Southern Indian and Moorish styles. Please note that only worshippers can enter the prayer hall.

C. Campbell Lane 
Named after a British military officer, Campbell Lane is a visual feast of colours. It sells vegetables, accessories, prayer items etc. During Deepavali, this road is closed to traffic.

D. Little India Arcade
A conserved building, it supposedly houses "all things Indian" under one roof. We entered the small hidden lanes and found some shops selling clothes and random knick knacks. There's also a variety of Indian snacks sold.

E. Tekka Centre 
Tekka means bamboo clumps in Hokkien, which once grew on the banks of Rochor Canal. It's hard to imagine seeing bamboo around in Singapore, but I guess they definitely have some now, now that the pandas are in Singapore. The first floor is a hawker centre. The second floor sells clothes at a very good price! I once bought a sari for racial harmony day somewhere else and now I realised I should have come here for a better deal!

F. Residence of Tan Teng Niah
The vibrancy and shout-out of colours persists throughout the trail. This is one of the last surviving Chinese Villas in Little India. It was built in 1900 by Tan Teng Niah, a prominent Chinese businessman. 

G. Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
This temple is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali. Other Kali temples include the famous Sri Mariamman Temple in Chinatown. One interesting anecdote about this temple was that during World War II when there were air raids, many took refuge in this temple and both the temple and the people within escaped the bombings. 

H. Mustafa Centre 
You have to really see it for yourself to believe what Mustafa Centre actually sells. I think it was either 5 or 6 stories, selling everything from tuxedos to gold to electronics, to food to stationery to party essentials to oil lamps. Many people also come here to get their electronics before taking a flight home. I think the prices might be slightly cheaper here. But guess what, I didn't spot a birthday cake!

One thing that you will remember about Little India is the smell of spices and the attack of colours. A vibrant place to be, you can get a few souvenirs back from here, whether from the roadsides or from Mustafa. There are also many gold and pawn shops, probably as a result of the influence of early Indian settlers in Singapore, who were either moneylenders or goldsmiths. 


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