Little India is a somewhat unidentified neighborhood in downtown Yangon. It is spread out over several streets and received the name during the British occupation, when many Indians and Bangladeshi Muslims migrated to Yangon. The district is a melting pot of people and features mosques and Hindu temples among rustic looking houses and colonial style buildings. A large Indian food market, the Thein Gyi Zei, attracts people having lunch, buying food and selling goods, while the surrounding narrow streets are covered on both sides in a variety of stores. Fresh fruit is sold everywhere and mangos and rambutans are advertised next chapattis and samosas. Often, the food is laid out on the sidewalks and piled high in baskets, which makes the walkways even more congested, but also moves everyday life out into the streets.
Interesting to see is the Shri Kali Hindu Temple, which was built by Tamil immigrants during colonial times. This incredibly vibrant temple is painted in all colors of the rainbow and covered from top to bottom in depictions of Hindu gods and goddesses dancing, standing, playing instruments and twisting and bending in all kinds of weird poses. Here, several Hindu festivals are held each year, but among the most famous is the Murugan Festival, which apart from colorful processions also features ritual self-mutilation.
Little India can be found only a few blocks away from Chinatown to the west of and around the Sule Pagoda. There aren’t any concrete bounds to the district, as it is blended into Yangon’s busy downtown area, so it’s best just to wander and discover as you go.