Clustered around the Serangoon Road in the south of the city, Little India is a benevolent assault on the senses, from the heady scents rising from spice grinders’ shops to the bales of bright fabric and flowers in the open-air market and the thousand-coloured gopuram tower of the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. Planned as the residential quarter for Indian immigrants in Singapore, Little India was once the centre of the city’s cattle trade and the home of its popular racecourse. Nowadays it’s a buzzing district full of character, which springs into effervescent action for the Hindu festival of Deepawali and the harvest Pongal celebrations in January when even the cows get a makeover!
Nab some bargains in the Mustafa Centre budget shopping mall (there’s even an airy rooftop restaurant for in-spend refuelling), or browse market stalls for traditional Indian souvenirs and Mumbai-style street food. Visit the dizzyingly colourful Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, newly rebuilt and sacred to the fierce goddess Kali, which once sheltered local residents from air raids during the Second World War, then gawp at the ceiling-high Vishnu statue in the Sri Srinivasa Perumal temple. And then, of course, there’s the Arcade, a vibrant India microcosm where you can get anything from bangles to henna tattoos, and from a silk saree to a glass of milk tea.