Saturday, March 7, 2009
Little India district of Singapore prior to my lunch, rather than staying cooped up inside my hotel. Following a route in the Little India Walking Guide leaflet published by the Singapore Tourist Board, I headed first for some fine examples of shophouse styled homes in Petain Road, numbered 10 to 44. A shophouse is usually a 2 or 3-storey building where the first floor is used for retail purposes and above the shop, are the family's living quarters. However the excellent examples on Petain Road are purely homes and well kept homes at that. Just outside a shophouse is the 'five-foot way', a covered corridor literally five feet wide, that provides shelter from both sun and rain. Next was the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Hindu temple with its elaborate gopuram entrance tower depicting gods, goddesses and mythical beasts. Tuesday and Fridays are the holy days when the temples are abuzz with religious fervour, but even today it was busy with many people stopping by for a chat and to eat inside the shrine. I didn't see anyone doing any worship of any kind. This temple is on Serangoon Road and is dedicated to Lord Perumal, the Preserver of the Universe and god of mercy and goodness. The gopuram, depicting stories of Vishnu, is a later addition in 1975, whereas the original shrine was founded in 1855. Next door is the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya temple with its 300 ton, 15-metre tall state of Buddha in its main hall and opposite is the Leong San Buddhist temple with its statue of Confucius inside. The gates to the domed structures of the Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman temple were firmly closed so it was back to my hotel after a bite to eat.