It’s about time Indians had their own heritage centre! Nestled away in the heart of Little India, the heritage centre encapsulates the history and soul of the Indian community, from their humble roots to their role in shaping modern Singapore.
From the moment you step into the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC), the pride the Indians have for their vibrant culture is palpable. The IHC just opened on the 8th of May and to commemorate its opening, we bring you 10 lessons learned and why you need to visit Singapore’s newest museum.
The moment you enter the gallery, look to your left for a wall of black and white photos that showcase the colourful history of the Indian community. Just like how the first whites in Australia were deported prisoners, the first Indians in Singapore were convicts from British-controlled India.
They settled here with their families, built communities, forged ties and stayed here against all odds. And as Singapore flourished, Indian merchants and traders began to settle here.
Some religious sculptures unearthed in India show evidence of Southeast Asian influence, which proves that the cultures must have met way before the British sent Indians over to Singapore.
You’ll learn about the early immigrants’ way of life through these interactive panels.
We’re all immigrants here, but where are you really from? I loved this interactive panel where you can zoom into India, find your hometown and learn more about it. Although most of the Singaporean Indians came from the south, the Indians in Singapore are a diverse lot, hailing from all over India.
We met Gandhi! Indians in Singapore echoed India’s nationalist sentiments, which spurred many to campaign for our own independence too. Indian heroes were very much admired here and Gandhi in particular received lots of love for his efforts in liberating India. A very enthusiastic family even queued up behind us to take a selfie with this iconic freedom fighter.
The Wall of Fame shows you just how much Indians have contributed to Singapore’s growth. From early entrepreneurs like the Pillais to legendary sportsman C Kunalan and poet Professor Edwin Thumboo, they’ve been instrumental in shaping the country we know and love today. Surprisingly, they’ve even featured JBJ!
Address: 5 Campbell Lane, Singapore 209924
Admission Fee: Free for locals
For all those who love museums and culture, it’s time for a visit to the Indian Heritage Centre. Its newness might make the museum seem a little less worn, a little less homey than the others, but you’d best go while all the interactive components are in tip-top shape. There’s lots to learn, lots to celebrate and lots to enjoy – enough for a satisfying afternoon of exploration.
The building looks imposing, but it’s smaller than it looks. Take your time to stroll through the galleries, soak up the atmosphere and enrich your minds and souls.
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