Little India Walking Tour
(30 July, 2017)
What better way to know Little India than to take a walk around it. I create this walking tour which you can print out and do on your own. If you happen to be a tour guide, feel free to make use of it in your tours. Check back to this website for new tours being added. They are all free for your use.
Through this Walking Tour of Little India, I hope offer you a glimpse of what makes this part of Singapore so fascinating. In addition to the Indian temples, we will pass through the market, mosques, Chinese temples and even a church or two. When I design this tour, I take into account what are the more interesting sights in Little India. These I string together, leaving out a few sights which I feel are less significant.
If you want to visit every sight, in addition to those within the trail, then by all means detour to reach each of them. As it is, the tour itself is already quite long, about 3400 meters. I recommend that you take a break somewhere in between and experience the food of Little India.
The tour starts and end at an MRT station. I purposely do it that way, so that it is more convenient for you to get transport. The MRT stations in this tour are Little India Station
(NE7) and Farrer Park Station
(NE8). I am going to start the tour at Little India MRT Station, but you can work backwards from Farrer Park if you so wish.
Okay, if you're ready, let's start!
Exit the Little India MRT station into Race Course Road
. At Sungei Road, turn left. Sungei (also spelled sungai
)is a Malay word for "river". It refers to the Rochor River
, part of which has become Rochor Canal
. Walk along Sungei Road, and you'd see Tekka Market
on your left. The old market is gone, replaced by multi-purpose complex called Tekka Centre, painted blue. Downstair is the wet market while upstairs are stalls selling clothes, and other stuff.
Continue along Sungei Road until you reach the junction of Serangoon Road
. Turn left into Serangoon Road. This is the main thoroughfare of Little India. It forms like the backbone from which side roads emerge like ribs. In front of you is The Verge, previously called Tekka Mall. Continue on a bit, and you reach Little India Arcade
, on your right. Go in and look around. This is what modern Little India is like.
Now continue along Serangoon Road until junction of Dunlop Road, then turn right into Dunlop Road. The reason we go down this small road, apart from getting the feel of how a small road in Singapore feels like, is to visit the wonderful Abdul Gaffoor Mosque
located further down the road, on the right side. I don't describe a great deal about it here (you can click the link for details), but I think this mosque is just gorgeous.
When we're done visiting Abdul Gaffoor Mosque, we continue along Dunlop Road until it reaches Jalan Besar. The name means "main road", literally "big road", in Malay. It not only serves as one of the main thoroughfares for the area, it also serves as a sort of border separating Little India on one side, and the Malay enclave of Kampong Glam on the other.
Turn left and walk along Jalan Besar until the next junction, with Dickson Road, and turn left into it. A short distance down, we reach the junction with Perak Road, and see the Church of the True Light
. Built in the early 1950's in an early modern architecture style, it is one of the smaller Anglican parishes in Singapore. Continue along Dickson Road.
We are now entering the quieter parts of Little India which many tourists do not visit. See how much smaller the shophouses here are. Their design is less elaborate than those along the main road. At the junction of Dickson Road and Clive Street, turn right into Clive Street. This short stretch of Clive Street lead to Kampong Kapor Road, and a short distance down Kampong Kapor Road
, to the left, is the Kampong Kapor Methodist Church
, built in 1930 in the Art Deco style. If you compare it with the Church of the True Light which we passed earlier, you'd see that True Light has a "fiftish" style while Kampong Kapor has an earlier style.
From Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, take Cuff Road, which leads us back to Serangoon Road. Turn right. Walk a short distance and you'd see the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
, one of the oldest in Little India, on your left. The Sri Veeramakaliamman is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. If you have the stomach for it, go inside and see the statue of the deity ripping out a victim's stomach.
Now we shall walk along Serangoon Road. As it heads in a northeast direct, notice the gradual change in the character of Little India. Around the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, it was distinctly Hindu, but after Roberts Lane, it becomes Indian Muslim. Although a lot of the old houses in Serangoon Road have made way for high rise apartment buildings, look out for the little pockets of what's left. At the junction of Serangoon Road and Birch Road is Angullia Mosque
. On the right side of the road is Serangoon Plaza
and behind it Mustafa Centre
. This is the Indian Muslim heart of Little India.
Now we continue on along Serangoon Road. The character of the street is becoming less and less Indian, when all of a sudden, we arrive at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
, another of the very old Hindu temples in Little India. Picture it, in the mid to late 19th century, the area around this temple was Indian settlement, with open fields for herding cattle. Now it's all built up. In fact, it became more and more Chinese from the early 20th century.
Some distance down Serangoon Road, we arrive at yet another Hindu temple, the Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple
. It has some of the most beautiful, most colourful temple sculptures in Little India, and you should definitely take a look inside.
The Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman is the last bastion of "Indianness" to the northern end of Little India. At the junction of Serangoon Road and Lavender Street, turn left into Lavender Street and then left again into Race Course Road. Now the streetscape is all Chinese. Buddhist and Taoist temples follow one another in quick succession. The first is Beo San Hood Chor Temple
, and then, all clustered together are the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple
on the left side of the road while Leong San See Temple
and Hock Siew Tong Temple
are on the right.
We are very much at the tail end of our walk now. Continue along Race Course Road until you reach Rangoon Road. The open field on the left is where the Farrer Park MRT Station
(NE8) is located. The station marks the end of our walk.
I hope you enjoy this walking tour. If you have any feedback, or something interesting you saw on the way, do write and let me know. Also, as cityscapes change all the time, if you discover something that has changed, do inform me so that I can add it to this free tour. Let's help and be helped.
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