Little India gets into the Deepavali groove

About two million visitors are expected at the celebrations in Little India this year. Visitors will be treated to cultural and traditional performances. Seen here is a group performing a traditional Indian folk dance during a preview of the Festival
About two million visitors are expected at the celebrations in Little India this year. Visitors will be treated to cultural and traditional performances. Seen here is a group performing a traditional Indian folk dance during a preview of the Festival of Lights segment.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

A town crier walking around to the beat of a drum, dance performers gyrating to classical music and elaborate peacock street decorations shining from above.

These will be part of the Deepavali celebrations organised by Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (Lisha) leading up to the Festival of Lights on Oct 29.

Starting from Saturday to Oct 28, the organisation has rolled out a series of activities for Deepavali, a festival that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness. About two million visitors are expected at the celebrations in Little India this year. Last year, they drew 1.6 million.

This year, festivities will kick off with the Deepavali Light-Up Ceremony on Sept 17 where visitors will be treated to cultural and traditional performances. Lights and decorations will be strung across streets along Serangoon and Race Course roads.

For the first time, giant fixtures like lanterns and 20m-tall peacocks will be placed along Serangoon and Kinta roads for visitors to take photos with from Sept 17 to Nov 12.

On weekends, visitors will be treated to performances like musical and comedy shows in Clive Street, as well as a craft and heritage exhibition at the Indian Heritage Centre. A parrot astrologer and pottery maker will be on site.

Other highlights include a festival village in Campbell Lane and Hastings Road with a bazaar for shoppers to buy Indian ethnic wear, traditional sweet delicacies and decorations.

There will also be an arts carnival on Oct 15 and 22 for art schools and local painters to set up exhibitions with artworks based on Deepavali and Indian culture in Hindoo Road.

Lisha chairman Rajakumar Chandra said that the performances and activities "will add a lot of vibrancy to the Little India celebrations". This year, $1.1 million was spent on celebrations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2016, with the headline 'Little India gets into the Deepavali groove'. Print Edition | Subscribe