We also visited the area called Little India in Singapore, which developed around a former settlement for Tamil convicts. Its location along the Serangoon River originally made it attractive for raising cattle, and trade in livestock was once prominent in the area. Eventually, other economic activity developed, and by the turn of the 20th century, the area began to look like a Tamil ethnic neighbourhood.
The area is full of colorful houses with little shops selling almost everything, from Bollywood DVDs, incense sticks, ayurvedic herbal oils, snacks such as gulab jamun (milk balls in sweet syrup) and halwa. There are shops full of spices, fabrics, brassware and glittering jewellery.
It was fun to see all the shops – some were quite busy on this Saturday afternoon. There were even small money exchange boxes in some of the shops, not sure if they were for the immigrant workers who came to this area on the weekends to stock up on their supplies or for the tourists coming to Singapore.
There were lots of small shops on the street too – from kiosks selling magazines to shoe cobblers and also a tailor, just out on the street with his sewing machine. How fun to watch!
Of course, food also plays a large part and there were lots of small eateries and restaurants – the food smelt really nice, shame we were not hungry to give it a go.
The Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple is one of the oldest temples in Singapore, unfortunately it was being renovated when we came to visit it. We only saw the tall Gopuram (tower) with the different incarnations of Lord Vishnu.