Little India, Singapore

Coordinates: 1°18′28″N 103°51′9″E / 1.30778°N 103.85250°E / 1.30778; 103.85250
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Little India
Subzone of Rochor Planning Area
Other transcription(s)
 • Chinese小印度
Xiǎo Yìndù (Pinyin)
Sió Ìn-tō͘ (Hokkien POJ)
 • MalayLittle India
 • Tamilலிட்டில் இந்தியா
Liṭṭil intiyā (Transliteration)
Shophouses in Little India
Shophouses in Little India
Little India is located in Singapore
Little India
Little India
Location of Little India within Singapore
Coordinates: 1°18′28″N 103°51′9″E / 1.30778°N 103.85250°E / 1.30778; 103.85250

Little India (Tamil: லிட்டில் இந்தியா) is an ethnic district in Singapore. It is located 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 commonly known as Tekka in the Indian Singaporean community.[1]


Little India was originally a European area used for cattle trading. Indian migrant workers specialised in working with cattle and found job opportunities in the area.[2] Its location along the Serangoon River originally made it attractive for raising cattle, and livestock trade was once prominent in the area.[3][4] Eventually, the swamps that made cattle farming so lucrative were drained, and the European cattle farmers and traders moved out. This left the neighbourhood almost entirely ethnically Indian.

Little India was the site of a two-hour-long riot on 8 December 2013, after a man was killed in a traffic accident. 27 people were injured, and 40 people were arrested.[5]


Little India during the Deepavali season.

Although ethnic Indians 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 Indian commercial or cottage industry usages are concentrated in Little India, although Indian-dominant commercial zones are also found in HDB estates. Contrary to stereotypes, Little India is not solely an Indian neighbourhood. Located in the neighbourhood alongside shops that cater predominantly to the Indians are Chinese clan associations, places of worship of different religions, and a variety of different business ranging from electrical supplies, hardware, second-hand goods alongside traditional spice grinders and grocers.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] The machinery used in this instance was initially flown in from India to grind spices into powder for use in Indian cuisine.[citation needed] Tekka Centre is also multi-cultural, with produce and sundries that cater to the many ethnic groups in Singapore.[citation needed]


Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Little India
Street in Little India

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 Far Kor Sun Monkey God Temple, Foochow Methodist Church, Kampong Kapor Methodist Church which was completed in 1929, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Angullia Mosque, Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple, Jalan Mosque, and the Central Sikh Gurdwara.

Leong San See Temple

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.[citation needed] The Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, along Serangoon Road, features a high gopuram (tower), and was built in 1855.[citation needed] The Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple, along Race Course Road, was established by Thai monk, Venerable Vutthisasara in 1927.[6] Leong San See Temple is built in 1917 and is dedicated to Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Compassion.[7]

Little India also features a few art houses. In 1985, the National Arts Council introduced the Arts Housing Scheme. This scheme sought to identify and refurbish old buildings for arts and cultural purposes. In Little India, a line of shophouses along Kerbau Road was identified to be suitable for the scheme. This is known as the Little India Arts Belt. In 2011, there are seven arts organizations in the Little India Arts Belt. Three were contemporary theatre companies while the other organizations involve traditional arts such as Malay dance and Indian theatre.[8]


The area is served by the following MRT stations: Little India, Farrer Park on the North East line, and Rochor and Jalan Besar on the Downtown line. Bus services 23, 64, 65, 67, 131, 139, 147, and 857 pass through Little India via Serangoon Road.

Panoramic view of Little India. Taken from Farrer Park View Housing Estate.
Panoramic view of Little India. Taken from Serangoon Road.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Conservation Portal -". Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  2. ^ Singapore, National Library Board. "Little India". Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  3. ^ Carl-Bernd Kaehlig; Swee Lin Khong (2008). Sari, Sarong and Shorts: Singapore's Kampong Glam & Little India. SNP Editions. p. 13. ISBN 978-981-248-178-8.
  4. ^ Sharon Siddique; Nirmala Puru Shotam; Nirmala Purushotam (1982). Singapore's Little India, Past, Present, and Future. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 10, 58. ISBN 978-9971-902-31-5.
  5. ^ Feng, Zengkun; Au-yong, Rachel (18 December 2013). "Riot: 28 face charges, 53 to be deported". The Straits Times, Singapore. Archived from the original on 20 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple". Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  7. ^ "Leong San See Temple". Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  8. ^ TC, Chang (18 March 2014). "'New uses need old buildings': Gentrification aesthetics and the arts in Singapore". Urban Studies. 53 (3): 524–539. doi:10.1177/0042098014527482. S2CID 145702075. Retrieved 3 May 2022.

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