Today my daughter's class visited Little India to highlight the central idea of their current unit of enquiry; "Cultures are celebrated in different Ways." There is not a more fitting place to go to illustrate this than Little India during Deepavali.
Deepavali is actually the "Festival of Lights", and the celebration of good over evil, light over dark. So the best time to visit Little India is after 7pm, when all the fairy lights are twinkling and the colourful arches along Serangoon Road look their best. But it is still busy, exciting and full of activity during the day, so either way expect to have fun.
First we visited the Sri Veerama Kaliamann Temple where there were lots of school children, tourists and devotees wandering around. Everyone is accepted here, no one excluded and they are quite used to tourists, especially this time of the year. I noticed some others taking photos so I got out my camera and no one batted an eyelid. Everywhere the temple is decorated with garlands of jasmine and marigolds, and there are little oil lamps and incense burning everywhere, so it looks and smells devine.
It is a fascinating temple, with detailed deities and shrines everywhere you look. The temple was built in 1855 by Bengali labourers to worship the Goddess Kali, consort of Lord Shiva. She has many pairs of arms and hands; each hand carrying weapons of destruction used to fight evil on earth. Many different Hindu Gods and Goddesses are depicted, but the main shrine houses a jet black statue of Goddess Kali, flanked by her sons Ganesha and Murugam.
We left the temple and walked down Serangoon Road to the Deepavali market at Campbell Lane. As for most festivals, food plays an important role, and there are plenty of treats to choose from at the bazaar. There is also bangles, lanterns, handicrafts, costumes, henna stalls, and the ever popular peacock feathers. It seemed like every school in Singapore was having a field trip to Little India today, but it made for brisk business for the stall holders. The kids were given good prices for their trinkets and everyone left happy and hungry.
To top off our Little India experience, we ate mild dhal and vegetable curry at Komala Villas Vegetarian Restaurant Buffalo Road branch. I will try to get back in the evening to see the lights and eat some more of the delicious food. And get my hands hennaed of course.
Last Day for market: Sunday, 26 October 2008
Time : 11.00am – 11.00pm
Market Venue : Deepavali Festival Village, Campbell Lane
Sri Veerama Kaliamann Temple
141 Serangoon Road, Singapore 218042
Tel: 6 2954538/6 2934634
Tel: 6 2954538/6 2934634