Little India, Singapore
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Shophouses in Little India
|– Pinyin||Xiǎo Yìndù|
Little India is an ethnic neighbourhood found in Singapore that has Tamil cultural elements and aspects of other cultures. Little India lies to east of the Singapore River—across from Chinatown, located west of the river—and north of Kampong Glam. Both areas are part of the urban planning area of Rochor. Little India is more commonly known as Tekka in the local Tamil community.
Little India is distinct from the Chulia Kampong area, which, under the Raffles Plan of Singapore, was originally a division of colonial Singapore where Tamil immigrants would reside under the British policy of ethnic segregation. However, as Chulia Kampong became more crowded and competition for land escalated, many ethnic Tamils moved into what is now known as Little India. (The Chulia Kampong district no longer exists as a distinct area.)
The Little India area is reported to have 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 Its location along the Serangoon River originally made it attractive for raising cattle, and trade in livestock was once prominent in the area.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.
Although ethnic Tamils no longer tend to stay solely segregated in one place as previously arranged under the modern People's Action Party (PAP) policy of racial harmony, for the sake of cultural heritage, many of the ethnically Tamils commercial or cottage industry usages are concentrated in Little India, although Tamil-dominant commercial zones are also found in HDB estates. This neighbourhood has the patronage of people of all races who wish to eat or buy something specific to Tamils culture, such as curry or Tamil clothing. One of the more prominent examples of cross-cultural patronage besides those regarding food is that many Chinese parents go to shops in Little India to grind rice to make congee for infants. In such cases, the shops have machinery primarily meant to grind spices into powder for use in Tamil cuisine. Little India differs from many other neighbourhoods in Singapore in many ways.
Serangoon Road is the main commercial thoroughfare in Little India. It intersects Rochor Canal Road and Bukit Timah Sungei Road. Along Serangoon Road is the Tekka Centre, the Tekka Mall, the Little India Arcade, Serangoon Plaza, and the Mustafa Centre (on a side-road). Farrer Park Fields is located in the district. Several Hindu temples, mosques, and other place of worship include Foochow Methodist Church, Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Angullia Mosque, Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple, Jalan Mosque, and the Central Sikh Gurdwara. The Abdul Gafoor Mosque, built in 1859 and named after a Tamil lawyer's clerk, features Arabian- and Renaissance-style architecture. Its prayer hall, decorated with Moorish arch-work, displays a tableau featuring the history of the Islamic religion. The Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, along Serangoon Road, features a high gopuram (tower), and was built in 1855. The Buddhist Sakyamuni Buddha Gaya Temple, also along Serangoon Road, originally established by Thai monk Vuthisasara in 1927. Leong San See Temple is dedicated to Guanyin, the Chinese Boddhisattva of Mercy.
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