1. Former House of Tan Teng Niah
The cheerful walls of the former house of Tan Teng Niah are popular with everyone, from influencers seeking their city #OOTD shot to couples doing pre-wedding shoots!
Restored in the 1980s for commercial use, the house stands out for its colorful façade and architecture. The richly carved pintu pagar (Malay for “swinging wooden half doors”) and traditional windows beckon tourists and locals alike.
Small Chinese businesses operated alongside their Indian cattle and rattan counterparts in the Little India of the past – a unique feature of Singapore’s multicultural makeup.
Tan Teng Niah was one such Chinese businessman, and his former house, built in 1900, is the last surviving Chinese villa in Little India today. Tan had several sweet-making factories that used sugarcane to produce sweets, and he used the by-products of sugarcane as fuel for the furnace of a rubber smoke-house that he had behind the house.
2. Festival by Izzad Radzali Shah
View this post on Instagram
Fancy something quirky? Turn the corner at 91 Hindoo Road and you’ll find this energetic, Fauvist-styled mural that spans the length of an entire wall.
Titled “Festival”, this mural is by Singapore artist Izzad Radzali Shah and is drawn from his engagement with the residents of Little India. Against a bold cobalt blue backdrop, Shah transcribes the stories he has gathered through his interaction into images and motifs that are familiar to the local community.
3. Abdul Gafoor Mosque
The special architecture of the Abdul Gafoor Mosque makes for beautifully unique photography. Delicately restored Arabic plasterwork calligraphy sits above the mosque’s symmetrical arches, while the exterior walls are adorned with crescent moon and star motifs – symbols widely associated with the Islamic faith.
Built in 1907 in the South-Indian style of Islamic architecture, the mosque’s coloured glass cupola carries Arabic and Renaissance influences, while the supporting pillars are inspired by Roman architecture.
Historically, the mosque served the residents of the Kampong Kapoor area, who were largely Bawaenese and Tamil Muslim immigrants. Many Bawaenese worked as horse groomers and trainers at the nearby racecourse, while the Tamil Muslims had trade businesses in the area. The mosque is one of Singapore’s National Monuments.
4. A Ride Through Race Course Road by Jaxton Su
Hang on tight to a racehorse like artist Jaxton Su, or sit yourself alongside a garland maker in this alley at Race Course Road. A community mural painting project, this mural is titled “A Ride Through Race Course Road” and tells the story of popular activities in Little India of the past, including horse racing and garland making.
Jointly created by Jaxton, migrant workers staying and working in the area, and Raffles Institution Art & Photography Club students, the completed work is a platform for everyone in Singapore to explore the heritage of Little India whilst enjoying photo opportunities.
5. Cattleland 2 by Eunice Lim
Right outside Little India MRT station sits a dreamy land of multi-coloured buffaloes, and whimsical clouds and flowers.
Already a popular spot for the ‘gram, this mural, titled “Cattleland 2” by Eunice Lim, was actually interactive collaboration! While the cows were painted by Lim herself, she invited members of the public (from children to young adults) to participate in painting the small flowers surrounding the animals.
The artwork was inspired by stories from the residents about the precinct’s history and how it used to be a street filled with buffaloes due to cattle trading.
6. 672 Chander Road
Wander to the end of 672 Chander Road and the path unexpectedly opens into a pop of whimsical shapes and colours. From the sidewalk, frame your shot with geometric diamonds and arches playfully decked in solid colours – don’t forget to include the block number at the apex of the roof for an unconventional and uniquely Singapore photo moment!
672 Chander Road is home to a row of unassuming barber shops, restaurants, and other businesses and is representative of Singapore’s traditional shophouses.
7. Madan Mogra: Jasmine of the City by Nadiah Alsagoff
With the migrant worker community thrust into the spotlight in recent months, this mural is a must-visit.
Titled “Madan Mogra: Jasmine of the City” by interdisciplinary artist Nadia, whose work explores identity and existence, this piece looks at migrant workers as individuals and how their lives are affected by the circumstances they are born into. The jasmine is symbolic of their growth, longing and determination for the families they sacrifice so much for.
A tribute to the migrant workers who have contributed to the construction and growth of various districts in Singapore, the alley where the mural is located at is also popular with workers who are taking a short break from work.
If you’re planning to make a trip down, do remember to observe the appropriate social distancing and safety measures for a safe and enjoyable experience!