Wanderings through Little India

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August 24th 2013
Published: May 5th 2014
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alskdfjds;ji;w (bangs head on computer). Okay, I was just about done with this entry when my hostels crappy internet failed and I lost everything I'd written so here we go again.

So, since classes have started I haven't had much time to explore any new parts of the city. This weekend I set out to do just that. I decided to take a stroll through Little India and discover what Singapore's "most authentic neighborhood" had to offer. Little India is definitely an experience for the senses. Intoxicating incense and spices, dazzling gold jewelry, and sleek silks fill vibrant colonial shops.

I began my journey in Little India's Arts Belt. The Arts Belt is instantly recognizable by the dazzlingly painted art deco fronts of the 1920's era shop-houses. Shops sell an array of jewelry, brassware, statues, and fabrics. I am always impressed with beautiful fabrics I find in markets here and am always moved to buy some, I just have no idea what uses I could find for them. Statues include generic plastic Buddha's and Merlions but also some extremely intricate wooden Hindu deities as well as some somewhat bizarre erotic figures.

After the Arts Belt I found my way to the Little India Arcade. Contrary to it's name it doesn't contain an arcade, at least not that I saw. What it does contain, however, is a group of shop-houses which were converted into an indoor market/bazaar. The market consisted of shops selling the ever-present 'I love SG' souvenirs but also had some more unique items such as saris and shawls, more gorgeous silk, books, and brass mini figures. A few places sold quite reasonable clothing with a bit more of an eastern feel. I am in need of some clothes more befitting Singapore's tropical sun so will probably be back.

Outside the arcade is a row of shops selling garlands and spices. The garlands are jasmine, marigold, and rose woven together with banana leaf fibres. They serve a multitude of purposes, I am told, including draping them over statues as prayer offerings and various uses in traditional Hindu weddings. Aromas from all the spices and flowers swirl into a heady fog which lingers in the hot sun.

After passing more shops, guest houses, and Indian restaurants I came to Masjid Abdul Gafoor; a century-old brick mosque. The mosque is stunning with its elaborate arches, columns, and minarets. The mosque is known for a sundial placed at the entrance. The dial is a sunburst with 25 rays. On each of the 25 rays, written in Islamic calligraphy, is the name of one of the original 25 prophets of Islam chosen by Mohammad.

My final stop was the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. Kali is an incarnation of Shiva's wife and is known as a destroyer of evil. Sadly I didn't get many pictures of the temple because my camera died. Interestingly, to enter the temple I walked through a massive wooden door, checkered with small bells devotees ring as they enter. As I turned to leave I realized the door had been closed. I had to exit through a tiny door maybe 4 feet high which was itself part of the larger door.

Well, that's about all I have to report at the moment. Things at the hostel are slowing down as school is winding up so exploring will have to be patient with studying.

Additional photos below
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25th August 2013

Little India looks awesome, Ben - great pix! And about those great fabrics - you can always bring some back for family members!!
26th August 2013

Good to hear from you Ben!
Hi Ben, We are happy to read your recent post and to see the photos of more of the beauty around you. Such artistic detail and gorgeous colors!!! We have enjoyed having Annie with us this month and being a part of her new experiences at her school. Also are looking forward to having them live nearby :) Josh treated us to a wonderful meal of stuffed manicotti tonight...very tasty. He has promised us steak and potatoes tomorrow evening and chicken quesadillas on Tuesday!! I could really get used to eating like this every evening, but probably would not be able to afford the new, larger wardrobe that would be required after awhile!! We hope all is going well, Ben. We look forward to reading the next edition of your Blog; you have an enjoyable writing style . Love and Hugs, dear one :o)

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