Saturday, February 7, 2009

Down Memory Lane

I visited Little India during Diwali last year. Diwali or Deepavali, as it is sometimes called, is known as the 'Festival of Lights' and a celebration of good over evil, light over dark. So the best time to visit Little India is after 7 pm, when all the fairy lights are twinkling and the colourful arches along Serangoon Road look their best. But it is still busy, exciting and full of activity during the day, so either way people will have fun.

First I visited the Sri Veerama Kaliamann Temple where there were lots of school children, tourists and devotees wandering around. Everyone is accepted here, no one excluded and they are quite used to tourists, especially this time of the year. Everywhere the temple is decorated with garlands of jasmine and marigolds, and there are little oil lamps and incense burning everywhere, so it looks and smells divine. The sight of the Marigolds and the fragrance of Jasmine made me feel I was back home. In Kerala women wear Jasmine flowers in their hair as ornaments. It's really beautiful to see the stark white of the flowers against the jet black of the hair.

As you all already know, I love visiting temples and so I explored this one a little. It's a fascinating temple, with detailed deities and shrines everywhere you look. The temple was built in 1855 by Bengali laborers to worship the Goddess Kali, consort of Lord Shiva. She has many pairs of arms and hands; each hand carrying weapons of destruction used to fight evil on earth. Many different Hindu Gods and Goddesses are depicted, but the main shrine houses a jet black statue of Goddess Kali, flanked by her sons Ganesha and Murugam.

I left the temple and walked down Serangoon Road to the Deepavali market at Campbell Lane. As is the case in most festivals, food plays an important role and there were plenty of treats to choose from at the bazaar. There was a largely colourful variety of bangles, lanterns, handicrafts, costumes, henna stalls, and the ever popular peacock feathers. By the time I finished shopping, I was quite hungry. I bought a few bangles and lanterns. I had to bargain with them. It's fun doing that. But it was all the bargaining that made me so hungry.

So to top off my Little India experience, I had some yummy, spicy dal and vegetable curry at Komala Villas Vegetarian Restaurant, Buffalo Road branch. I think I had mentioned earlier that I love food, so this was the perfect end to a perfect day.

No comments: