Taking photos in India was one of the highlights of my career. However, I was shocked to find some of the same scenes right in the city of Singapore - during my Little India Street Photography shoot! Indeed, with my Ricoh GR II in tow, I once again discovered the colorful sights, sounds, and exotic tastes of rich and spicy Indian curries.
Words & Photos By Nathan Allen
Little India is quite vibrant and diverse - with people and cultures from all over India. Although not a morning person, for the sake of good lighting, I went on a few early photo walks with my Ricoh GR II.
This is the entrance to a temple which serves the northern Indian community. Also shown are the colorful buildings near "Kerbau Rd". Kerbau means buffalo in Malay. This was a cattle trading hub years ago. Hard to imagine that, when you consider what a sleek and modern city Singapore is today.
The buildings on the streets of Little India certainly win the award for "most colorful" in Singapore...but this love of color also includes the clothes that locals wear. Never seeming to be content with a bland, white shirt, I think Indians have a great sense of style. The scene above has a bit of a yellow / orange theme.
Crowds in Tekka Food Center, Singapore
The shot below was taken on the way into Tekka Food Center, where I found my favorite Punjabi food. Perhaps I will let you know the name of the stall at a later date... In other words, you must follow along to find out!
Anyhow, the Ricoh kicked up the ISO quite high in the challenging light here, and I had to work to clean up the file a bit. Converting the photo to black and white helped.
By the way, it's not just the market called Tekka. For instance, locals here call all of Little India "Tekka". I was surprised to learn the name actually comes from the Hokkien Chinese word Tek Kia Kha, which means base of the bamboo. It was named after the plants found growing at nearby Rochor canal.
Apparently some Chinese stall owners in Tekka Centre even speak Tamil, and some Indians, Hokkien!
Here you see an old man riding his classic motorcycle with sidecar. Little India MRT is in the distance.
The People - Little India Street Photography
Next to Kerbau Rd is Buffalo Rd, and I find that a bit funny...though I guess it makes sense when you consider the Malay & British both lived in Singapore early on. Buffalo Rd attracts many shoppers looking to buy fruits, vegetables, as well as the hand woven flower garlands that are used by temple worshipers.
Along a side street, I also came across these workers unloading a truck. I was struck by the color blue everywhere, and wondered if it was done on purpose.
Just another striking splash of color...this time in red.
There are always a lot of people on the streets near Tekka Centre. The community hosts many bazaars and holy festivals here. In the distance you can see "Campbell Lane", which reminds me of a street where I grew up in California. It's basically as close as I can get to home right now, being on the other side of the world.
Below you'll see more colorful shops and houses along Serangoon Rd. The streets of Little India seem to get more traffic than other places else in Singapore, though it's still nothing compared to other Asian countries.
MRT Murals & Kerbau Rd
The Little India MRT is quite a busy station. Tourists come here from all over the world, because of the area's cheap hostels. That, and the neighborhood's vibrant tourist draws, of course!
(continued below, but please consider following along with me below...)
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Don't miss the giant murals painted on the walls near here.
It seems I mostly find south Indian food around the neighborhood, but from what I read, Punjabis, Tamils, and Bengalis all live and share their cultures here.
37 Kerbau Rd - A Vibrant, Iconic Neighborhood Landmark
Colorful buildings like this are hard to miss. This is the Tan Teng Niah Residence, and although it's Chinese, the colors seem to be quite Indian to me...
Later, snapped this photo of a man riding his bike past the bus station. Thanks to the Ricoh GR II's "snap focus" mode, obviously I never miss a shot.
FYI, you can click the image below to learn more about my camera on Amazon...
...or use this link to the Ricoh GR II on Lazada (Asia)
Here's one last black and white shot to keep you "street tog" purists happy...
I really enjoyed this bright and cheery community. I always eat at Tekka when I stay in Singapore, and have made some good friends in the neighborhood there. Little India is surely worth seeing!
In closing, I hope you enjoyed my Little India Street Photography series (others below). I'd love to hear your feedback.
- Nathan Allen
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