My Guide to Little India in Singapore During Deepavali
Just before I left Singapore to return to the UK, I attended a Bollywood Charity event in Little India that reminded me of how much I love this colourful and captivating neighbourhood. As an artist, I find so much that inspires here from the vividly hued saris on display in the shops to the fragrant jasmine garlands and exotic spices in the markets, the glittering gold jewellery and intriguing temples. Although there is always something to see in this vibrant part of the city, Deepavali is a particularly wonderful time to visit.
What is Deepavali?
Deepavali is also known as the Festival of Lights, and it signifies the triumph of lightness over darkness, good over evil, and the beginning of the Hindu new year. The festival usually takes place in Singapore over one day in October or November depending on the lunar calendar. During this time huge arches are set up over Serangoon Road and Little India comes alive with dazzling lights, lively bazaars, and spirited fireworks displays.
Top Spots to Visit in Little India During Deepavali
Deepavali Festival Village
Spread out over 15,000 square feet that encompass the space between Campbell Lane and Hastings Road, the Deepavali Festival Village offers tons of fun and excitement in the form of delicious street food snacks, vendors selling everything from gorgeous silk saris to wood carvings, brightly coloured flowers and incense, high-energy musical hits from Bollywood soundtracks, and stalls where you can have your fortune read or hands and feet done up in henna tattoos.
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
Built in 1855, this is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Singapore, and it is dedicated to the goddess Kali who is known as the ‘destroyer of evil.’ The temple started as a small shrine with some carvings and inscriptions, but over the past century and a half, it has gradually expanded into a stunning six-storey structure adorned with colourful statues of Hindu gods and goddesses.
Little India Arts Belt
The Little India Arts Belt consists of 10 colourful restored shophouses on Kerbau Road that house a variety of arts companies ranging from theatre groups to an art gallery, traditional dance troupes and a gamelan orchestra. During Deepavali, you may be able to catch a performance taking place right on the street in this cultural enclave in the heart of Little India.
Shop my Arts and Crafts of Little India Art >>
Race Course Road
Part of Deepavali, and pretty much any festival in Singapore for that matter, involves eating delicious local delicacies. If you want to sample authentic Indian fare, make your way to Race Course Road where you will find the street lined with restaurants serving up ample portions of fish head curry, sizzling platters of lamb, fluffy naan bread, and sweet treats like athivasam (doughnuts).
In the mood for a bit of shopping? Then you should definitely check out the famous Mustafa Centre. This six-storey space is a treasure trove of pretty much everything under the sun like homewares, clothing, jewellery, groceries, airline tickets and more. Even better, it is open 24 hours a day, every day of the week. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, chances are you won’t find it anywhere.
My Arts and Crafts of Little India piece represents the rich colours and culture of this vibrant community and makes for a great gift for Deepavali or any other holiday or occasion.