Friday 26 October 2007

Festival of Lights

For a month, Little India is ablaze with fairy lights and garlands. There is Indian dancing, delicious food, brightly coloured saris, sparkling jewelry and aromatic spices as the Indians prepare for Deepavali.

Deepavali celebrates the symbolic victory of good over evil and brings in the New Year for Hindus. Families lay offerings of jasmine, sweetmeats, yoghurt and ghee on the family altar and women wear their finest outfits to the temples.

During Deepavali, it is believed that the souls of the departed return to earth, and so lamps are lit to guide them. Light also symbolises goodness, success and other attributes that may be bestowed by the Goddess Lakshmi, consort of Lord Vishnu. The festival celebrates the legendary slaying of the oppressive Narakasura by Lord Krishna, which in turn reconfirms the inherent nature of goodness and its ability to triumph over evil. For this reason it is both a happy time and a magical one.

Naturally, we decided to capture this magical moment last night at Little India. Come with us on our little journey...

We were greeted by brightly coloured street decorations, which put us in a festive mood immediately! The theme for the street décor this year is Rangoli inspired. Rangoli (Indian floor art) designs are intricate, colourful and are said to bring prosperity when drawn at the entrance of an Indian household.

We began our journey with a trip to Banana Leaf Restaurant for an authentic Indian meal.

Food here is served on a huge piece of banana leaf. We ordered spicy Masala chicken and curry mutton. A standard Indian meal comes with rice, Papadum or papad (crispy, thin lentil wafers) and some vegetables (we were offered cabbage and spicy eggplant), washed down with tangy fresh lime juice.

After dinner, we stepped out of the restaurant to see lots of cars lining Race Course Road which is flanked by beautifully coloured lights. It's so popular with the tourists and locals, they have a valet service to deal with the cars coming in.

As we turned the corner, the roof of the famous Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple came into view. I didn't bring a tripod, so I wasn't able to take really great pictures.

The main Serangoon Road in Little India, ablazed with coloured lights!

The dead tree and the Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple.
There were lots of people going in and out of the temple which I wasn't able to capture in this picture.

Well, I managed to capture a scene of a saree-clad woman walking past this brightly decorated restaurant.

We decided to rest our tired feet at an old coffee shop, so I got another shot of that restaurant from across the small alley.

This cup of coffee only costs 80 cents (50cts in USD)! I only drank half cos I didn't want to lie awake all night tossing in my bed!

There's a flea market going on this month. Come, let's go see the beautiful saris inside the huge tent!

This is just a small section of the market. I was surrounded by saris in any colour imaginable but being a disciplined shopper, I didn't buy a thing, well, except for a pair of nail clippers.


Unknown said...

i love the lights. what an interesting event, and you captured it so well!

Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL! I've been to Little Singapore! But it wasnt during any festival though...

Anonymous said...

I just love all of the colors. How beautiful - and meaningful!

Amel said...

WOW...Now I want to visit Singapore again. I loved that place even though I've only been there once he he he he he...;-D

GIMME that Indian food! I'm CRAVING for Asian food here!!!!!

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