Serangoon Road is the main highway through the enclave and several shop houses offering silk saris, gold bangles, spices and other foodstuffs line the streets along with street vegetable vendors and shopping malls; the most prominent being Mustafa Centre the biggest discount store in Singapore that sells everything from high end watches to bags of food. The latest ‘Bollywood’ dance tunes mingle with the noise of traffic and the smell of incense hangs in the air as Serangoon Road is also home to a number of religious edifices including prominent Hindu temples, the Central Sikh Gurdwara, mosques, a Buddhist temple dedicated to Sakyamuni and Methodist churches. Some of these religious structures such as the high gopuram or tower of the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Hindu Temple, the oldest in Singapore was built in 1855. The Sakyamuni Temple was built by a Thai monk in 1927.
When in Little India it is a must to experience its cuisine. The restaurants here have offerings to suit every budget. Try the tasty South and North Indian dishes and sweets and the fish head curry at Banana Leaf where food is eaten the traditional South Indian way on a banana leaf with ones fingers. Food is cheap and portions are huge and it is a treat for vegetarians. Fish head curry is also a draw at Muthus Curry restaurant. Saravana Bhavan, a branch of a budget Chennai chain, offers authentic South Indian food at affordable prices. Cheap lodgings and some of the most affordable hotels are also found in Little India.
The whole area comes alive during Thaipusam and Deepavali. The most conspicuous event during the Thaipusam parades is the sight of male devotees hanging from poles with hooks through their flesh, their way of keeping a promise to god. ‘Kavadi’ dancers are also a popular site during this time. During Deepavali, the Hindu festival of light, Saragoon Road is ablaze with fancy lights and open air markets.
Little India is also a magnet for thousands of South Indian construction workers in Singapore where they gather on their days off to hang out, trade stories and gossip about home.
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