Little India Brickfields is a vastly different world than nearby Bangsar. Brickfields is Malaysia’s official Little India and used to be a simple residential neighbourhood just outside KL but was recently transformed into a wide street with Indian stores and restaurants run by the country’s Indian community.
The shops here sell everything from traditional Indian goods such as saris, flower garlands, spices and Bollywood music, to local delicacies such as vadai, thosai (Indian pancakes made from fermented rice flour) and more. Since its transformation, Little India Brickfields has turned into one of KL’s trademark tourist hotspots not only because of the wares found here but for its proximity to KL Sentral station.
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History of Little India Brickfields
The original Little India used to be located along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman in central KL. Reminiscent of a Middle Eastern bazaar, its main street was known as Jalan Masjid India. Then, in 2009, Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that the country’s official Little India would be moved to Brickfields – one of the oldest Indian settlements in the country.
The RM35 million project was undertaken because this generously proportioned boulevard – from Jalan Travers up to Jalan Tun Sambanthan – could house more colourful cultural stores than KL’s busy city centre.
The New Little India
Brickfields’ launch as Malaysia’s new Little India was jointly unveiled by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Malaysia’s PM. The showcase included a fireworks display and performances by prominent local Indian artists including renowned classical dancer Ramli Ibrahim as well as Datuk David Arumugam, Jacklyn Victor and Yogi B.
Little India now spans from Jalan Travers to Jalan Tun Sambathan; there’s a 35-foot fountain at the junction, an information kiosk at Jalan Thamby Abdullah and a three-storey Indian bazaar at the end of Jalan Tun Sambanthan. The brick-paved Jalan Tun Sambanthan is lined with white street lamps and creamy-yellow arches with purple embellishments to match the newly painted purple buildings along the street.
Little India teems with men on job contracts from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who work at and run the quarter’s restaurants and stores. Vendors blasting Bollywood music with rows of Indian CDs on makeshift tables, flower garlands hanging from racks and colourful stacked saris make for a spectacular photo opportunity. In addition, Brickfields is popular for its affordable eateries: most importantly, restaurants specialising in banana leaf lunches and thosai. Many of the businesses here operate late into the night and some even run round the clock.
Traffic used to slow down to a messy crawl and cars would park haphazardly along the streets of Brickfields, so in order to curb congestion a multi-storey car park has been erected near the Kuala Lumpur City Hall sports complex. Still, it’s easier to take the Light Rail Transit to get there – simply get off at the Sentral LRT Station and Little India is a short walk away, just outside the terminal.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 21:00
- Location: Jalan Travers to Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields