This bustling neighbourhood is one of the most compact in the country, so the number of attractions is inevitably limited, meaning the emphasis is more on quality rather than quantity of interesting things to do and see. Of course, no visit to Little India would be complete without a trip to a temple of some sort; Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam all run through the core of this multiethnic, multicultural community, and the number of religious buildings here per-capita is higher than any other place in Singapore. We’ve also got you covered on shopping too – one of this district’s most popular pastimes. Read on to discover our list of the very best attractions in Little India.
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
Sri Veeramakaliamman is Little India’s prettiest, busiest and most difficult to pronounce temple. Lying at the heart of the neighbourhood on Sarangoon Road, this Hindu temple dates all the way back to the 19th century, although the present structure was completely much more recently. Sri Veeramakaliamman is hard to miss, with its hundreds of tiny colourful statues blanketing the exterior temple structure. Inside is just as impressive, although expect crowds of worshippers to gather on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Entrance is free but don’t forget to dress respectfully and take your shoes off when stepping inside.
House of Tan Teng Niah
Possibly Singapore’s most colourful building, the House of Tan Teng Niah sits proudly at the centre of Little India. However, unlike the rest of the attractions in this list, the House of Tan Teng Niah isn’t really Indian. As any linguists may have already realised, this building’s routes lie firmly in the Chinese colonialisation of Singapore, and is the only survivor of its type in the neighbourhood. The India community can take credit for the rainbow of colours that the house is so famous for, as well as the buildings renovation and upkeep. Go to take a photo - or ten - then grab yourself a Biryani in the nearby courtyard for some particularly picturesque alfresco dining.
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
To the untrained eye, Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple would appear rather similar to the more popular Sri Veeramakaliamman down the road. The exterior features all those intricately designed Hindu relics which cling to the main structure – or ‘Gopuram’ – and the whole building is just as colourful. However, this temple is dedicated to Krishna, one of the incarnations of Vishnu, and therefore the statues and relics do vary. Inside, there’s more space to move about, making this more of a laidback temple visit than its slightly more frantic neighbours.
The enormous, 24 hour, everything-under-one-roof Mustafa Centre makes our list of best attractions – as well as our list of best shopping in Little India – due to its status as an institution in Singapore that borders on cult-like. Many shoppers come from the surrounding neighbourhood, whilst a fair share of tourists and locals flock to Mustafa Centre from all over Singapore too. Sure, it’s messy, a little disorganised, and packed every day, but come in search of one specific item that you can’t find anywhere else in town, and you’ll probably find a whole aisle dedicated to it at Mustafa Centre! It’s also one of the cheapest malls we’ve seen in Singapore too.
The Temple of a Thousand Lights
The Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple is often referred to as the ‘Temple of 1,000 Lights’ due to adjacent room containing all those many lights. The main feature of this Buddhist temple, which is one of the most popular of its type in both Little India and Singapore, is the central 15-metre tall Buddha statue that draws in worshippers and tourists with both its religious significance and beauty. The temple was built in the 1927 by a Thai monk, and the Siamese influences are clear to be seen throughout. You can find the Temple of a Thousand Lights just off the Racecourse Road between Little India and Farrar Park MRT stations. Entrance is free but do dress respectfully.