Let the lights guide you around Asia this Diwali
ON Nov 28, Indians and those of the Hindu faith all across the globe will celebrate Deepavali, or Diwali as it is also known, the ancient Festival of Lights.
The most important festival of the year in India, Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil.
The biggest, brightest, and loudest celebrations come Monday when people set off a near-constant stream of firecrackers that light up the sky before leaving a dark, smoggy cloud that lingers for days.
With that in mind, take a look at the six of the most colorful “Little Indias” in Asia – small havens of the Indian subcontinent recreated far away from home.
Malaysia bills itself as being a microcosm of Asia (Malaysia, Truly Asia, anyone?) and Little India in Kuala Lumpur is both historical and active.
Located in an old part of the city known as the Jalan Masjid India, the area takes its name from a 1870s mosque built here by the Indian Muslim community.
With a vibrant bazaar and street food options, this place should certainly be on your must-visit list to Kuala Lumpur.
Getting there: Jalan Masjid India can be reached by foot from Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur and by metro as well- simply take either the Star or the Putra metro lines and disembark at the Masjid Jamek station.
Hong Kong has long been a melting pot and a hub of cultural diversity in Asia and the Tsim Sha Tsui district bears testimony to this.
The area is dominated by ethnic Indians, Pakistanis, and Africans and is also the location of Chung King mansions- a building complex that was featured heavily in Wong Kar Wai’s movie Chungking Mansions. The bustling area is a glimpse of the bustling confluence of people that is South Asia.
Getting there: Close to the Tsim Sha Tsui Station and the East Tsim Sha Tsui station on the MTR, it is also accessible by bus.
Located to the east of the Singapore River and in the area of Rochor, Singapore’s Little India is distinguished by the predominance of the ethnic Tamil community.
Apart from the shopping and culinary attractions, the area also comes alive during festivals- the two biggest being Diwali and Thaipusam, the latter of which certainly promises to be an experience!
Getting there: The area is serviced by two metro stations – Little India and Farrer Park. Bugis station is also within walking distance of the area.
India’s connection to the state of Burma is an ancient one and the erstwhile capital city Yangon still reflects the vestiges of the heritage.
Although the demographics of the city have sharply altered over the last half century, Anwaratha Street in Yangon retains much of its Indian character.
The city itself is the last resting place of the last Mughal emperor of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar whose grave is an interesting if macabre representation of the many alleyways of Indian history.
Getting there: Anwaratha Street is in Central Yangon and is near Sule Paya Road.
The Pahurat district in Bangkok has been home to ethnic Indians from the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities since the early 1900s.
One of the most interesting landmarks is the golden-domed seven-story Sikh temple which was built in 1933 but extensively renovated and rebuilt in 1981.
Located along Phahurat Road in the Phra Nakhon district, the area has its full complement of religious sites, shops, and eateries.
Getting there: This area can be approached by taking the riverboat (alight at the Memorial Bridge pier), by metro (take the MRT to Hua Lamphong and hail a tuk-tuk or taxi for the remaining distance) or by foot from Bangkok’s Chinatown.
Clustered in the city’s Satwa and Karama districts, these enclaves bear testimony to the large swathes of Indian immigrants who have flocked to Dubai as the city-state has burgeoned.
As one of the most liberal places in the Gulf, Dubai’s population is around 36 percent Indian, 11 percent Pakistani, and six percent Bangladeshi giving plenty of local representation to the ethnic enclaves. The city’s Little India is famous for its textiles and food.