One district not to be missed in Singapore is Little India that stretches along the Serangoon Road. This is where Indian immigrants found refuge when coming to this country. Consequently, you will be overwhelmed by Indian decorations, religious statues, specific scents of saffron, aromatic burning sticks, with jasmine and other floral arrangements all around. There are typical Indian shops, small alleys and once you find yourself here it will be hard to believe that only four percent of the Singapore population are actually Indians (while Chinese make up the majority of 80 percent).
So, there will be small bags of spices mixture to buy depending on the meal you are preparing that day, or you can find piles of colorful traditional sarees, or try to choose from beautifully decorated silver jewelry pieces.
There is also the Hindu temple that allows tourists’ visits and where you are supposed to take off your shoes in order to get in, pay the ticket if you want to take pictures and do try to avoid areas where worshipers try to pray. Strolling around the courtyard you feel like actually stepping onto Indian soil, and you are amazed by the fact that ethnic authenticity is so well preserved in this city.
There will be women wearing colorful sarong dresses with typical bindi dots on their foreheads. Men were waiting to kneel before the huge statue of Sri Aravan in the courtyard, while people inside were on their knees or lying face down on the pavement.
This is one of the most popular Hindu temples in Singapore – Sri Mariamman. When I first saw it through the taxi window I was so impressed that I have actually tried to remember the surroundings in order to find it the next day. Luckily, one of the neighboring streets is called the Temple Street, so it was not that hard to navigate. Also, not that far from this Hindu temple, there is an imposing Buddhist one, so it would be impossible to miss them both.
Little India houses the whole residential area with numerous high buildings. Although drying laundry outside is against the law in Singapore, the strings with clothes are tolerated in this district.
People came up with an idea to put long sticks through their windows and spread their laundry along those sticks. Locals often joke about it, calling them the “Singapore flags”.
There is residential Chinese area nearby with numerous shops. These buildings are in yellow, white and red colors.
Stroll a bit further and you will end up in the Arabic district with typical houses, small stores, few men busy with their craft, mosques. Since Muslim population make up about 14 percent in Singapore, there are numerous Islamic temples to be seen, along with Al Falah Mosque in the Orchard Road at the ground level of a tall business building.
Was a bit surprised that the Muslim call to prayer was still loud, even though the noise of the traffic and crowd outside was overwhelming.
Some parts of Singapore will be surprising. The city is probably “too much to the East”, at least when coming from Europe, so the tradition that is appreciated here is the one that we only come across from time to time and do not really know that much about, maybe even take lightly.
Just imagine that you build the whole quarter according to Feng Shui standards! Those buildings were not the same in heights and looking from above, they formed a shape of the hand palm with its “fingers” (buildings) pointing to the sky.
The point is for the “palm” to concentrate all the energy within so the business could bloom. And yes, this is the business district.
Singapore is constantly being modernized and rebuilt. Locals told me that I would be surprised how much the city might change only in a year.
Some of them love it, some are against it, but still they say that this way “one can never claim to have really seen Singapore, no matter how many times he visits”.
That is exactly how I feel when ever I come across recent photos of the city. Firstly, I try to locate a building or a place but than I remember that this is Singapore we are talking about, everything that was there last year is just “an old news” nowadays. The city has probably changed so much since the last time I have visited!
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