Little India is known among tourists more for Mustafa Centre than anything else. Yet, the real attractions of Little India happen to be elsewhere. It is on Serangoon Road and its adjoining lanes that the real India lives in Singapore. It is here that you will find Indian temples, Indian markets, and of course lots of Indian food. There are two MRT train stations in Little India, ‘Farrer Park’ and ‘Little India’. Mustafa Centre is close to Farrer Park Station whereas the other main attractions are close to Little India station. From Little India MRT, one can take exits B or C, come to Bukit Timah Road, and at the signal turn left to Serangoon Road. The first building one is likely to see on the left side here is the Tekka Centre which is also called Tekka Market. This is the equivalent of Chinatown Complex in terms of ethnic food which is somewhat “Indian” here. But I must say that if you really want to experience Little India, do not concentrate much on Tekka Centre.
The famous Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (141, Serangoon Road) was founded in 1835 and was re-constructed in 1987. Entry of visitors is allowed during certain hours of the day so check at the temple first before heading towards the markets and restaurants. I think for the evening it opens at 4.00pm. Other famous Indian temples in Little India are Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and Shree Lakshminarayan Temple. Temple website link: http://www.sriveeramakaliamman.com/
Little India Arcade and the Shops on Serangoon Road
Little India Arcade opposite Tekka Centre is the one stop destinations for buying anything related to India. Here one can find statues of Indian gods in all possible materials, handicrafts, fabrics, clothes, and gifts of all varieties. Do bargain because prices are not fixed. Verify in two or three shops before you decide to buy something. Both sides of Serangoon Road have shops that stock everything from Indian groceries to gold ornaments.
I found one small Indian vegetarian food stall called Neha Tiffin Centre where I could eat a plateful of snacks (picture above) for two Singapore Dollars. Among the Indian restaurants in Little India, Bikanerwala is behind Little India Arcade and Kailash Parbat is next to Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. There are several other Indian restaurants on Serangoon Road and Veerasamy Road opposite Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.
Several online articles on Little India refer to Tekka Centre as the place to go for cheap Indian food but my experience has been different. Tekka Centre does have a couple of joints that sell Indian food, but most of the food stalls in this market sell what is known as “Indian Muslim Food” in Singapore which is a very different from the real Indian food.
Spending an afternoon in Little India doing real or just window shopping and enjoying some great Indian food can be a rewarding experience particularly for a tourist who has not been to India before. For Indian tourists, its a home away from home.