Singapore Flyer – Bringing Panoramic View of the Lion’s City

If you are planning to visit Singapore with your family, then do not miss out a ride on the Singapore flyer. Kids and families are sure to enjoy this fun-filled ride. The Singapore Flyer is located on the edge of the Marina Center at the southeast tip. It is also the largest giant observation wheel of the world and it gives a 360 degree view of the city along the Marina bay and you also get to see the glimpses of Malaysia and Indonesia. This flyer is built over a three storey building that has bars, shops, restaurants and a view of the city centre. It is one of the major tourist attractions of Singapore that gives a good income to the country.

History behind the construction

Conceived by Dr. Kisho Kurokawa and DP Architects of Singapore, the flyer was designed during the early 2000s and the formal planning began in 2002. The plan was officially announced in 2003. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in Sep 2005 and was launched in the year 2008.

Features of the Giant Flyer

The Singapore flyer is 150 metres in diameter with a height of 165 metres. This huge flyer covers 33,700m2 or 363,000 ft2 area. Each capsule measures 4 metres x 7 metres and it has 28 such capsules. Each capsule carries 28 people and travels at a speed of 0.24m per second. There is no worry about how to board the capsule of this huge flyer since it has the step on platform. It has two doors on the side with a platform for each, hence it is easy to board or get down the capsule.

Flying experiences

The entire joyful ride is for 32 minutes. The flyer has been designed in such a way that passengers experience a smooth ride due to its precision wind engineering. Unlike those old Ferris wheels, this Giant observation wheel does not have cramped carriages that hang on the air and terrify you. Since each capsule is as large as a bus, you can peacefully watch the view of the city without any fear. The flyer coves a view up to 45 kilometers, which means the flyer, gives a view of extra 3 km that does not come under the island city. Some of the significant landmarks that you can see from the flyer are – Changi Airport, Sentosa Island, and glance of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Safety Precautions

Passenger’s bags and handbags will be scanned thoroughly before boarding the flyer at level 2. Also, there are two cameras within each capsule in order to watch the movements within the capsule. As a safety precaution, the flyer will be stopped when the wind is above 10m per second, in order to prevent any unfortunate accidents. This 10m speed of wind occurs only at very rare cases. In case of any emergency, they have evacuation procedures to make you land safe.

Audio guide

To make the ride more interesting, a portable in-flight audio-guide has been introduced to passengers.  It is provided to all the Flyer ticket holders. This audio guide gives the passengers an insight into the past present and the future of the Singapore throughout their ride. Starting from the arrival of Sang Nila Utama to the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, the audio provides knowledge in a clear voice.

Indian Cuisines in Singapore

India and Indians have a long association with the native Malay civilization of Singapore that goes back to the ancient ages. But the systematic migration and influx of Indians in large numbers started and became consistent when Singapore became a colony of the British. The ethnic Indian Diaspora mainly comprises South Indians, particularly Tamils which is best mirrored in the potpourri of hot, tangy, and spicy dishes-the hallmarks of Indian cuisines.

The popular components of Indian cuisines

Since Tamils form a majority of the Indian population (approximately about 9% of the total population), most of the variety of Indian dishes available also happen to be Tamil. Since the late nineties of the last century, North Indian cuisines have started making inroads courtesy the setting up of some high-class and chic restaurants by successful Indian chefs like ‘Punjab Grill’ by Jiggs Kalra.

Owing to intermingling with the Singaporean culture for years on end, the dishes have become hybrid containing a blend of local spices and condiments yet the flavor is unmistakably Indian. The main elements used in Indian cuisines here in Singapore are Indian pickles, saffron (used in biryanis and pilaos), Rojak-an assortment of fried ingredients including eggs, tofu, and mashed potatoes, indigenized Chinese noodles, mughlai paranthas, and so on. Other signature dishes and elements include rotis, chapattis, Murtabak, curries, and chutneys.

Some dishes, recipes, and ingredients that were brought along when Indian contract laborers and coolies were indentured to work in the rubber plantations of erstwhile Malay have been assimilated with the national cuisines. These include mutton chops, Mulligatawny soup, mince meat of potatoes and peas, and fish moolie.

Street food culture and upmarket restaurants

If you think tucking into street food is the best way of getting an insight of the gastronomic culture of any ethnicity then head straight to Little India. You’ll find an eclectic spread of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare. Race Course Road gives stiff competition to Little India as it has some of the most admired restaurants like Muthu’s Curry, Anjappar, and Mustard Restaurant.

Little India can boast of having a more varied spread of both North and South Indian cuisines. If you’re a strict vegan, you don’t need to look beyond Ananda Bhavan restaurant which has been serving delectable vegetarian fare since 1924. You’re familiar with the Masala or Sada Dhosa- the homebred varieties but don’t forget to check out their ‘thosai’ ensemble.

You can head to ‘Annalakshimi’ for a pan-Indian buffet spread.  Just pay $ 5 Singapore dollars and have your fill of yoghurt, dhals (Indian lentils), rotis, Papadis, soups, curries and lassies.  Sample some original Malvani fare at Gajalee that include clams peppered with coriander and coconut paste, grilled tandoori lobster, curried New Zealand oysters. And yes, you can also ask for a mouthwatering preparation of Bombay duck. And if you’re not much into seafood, you can go for the usual vegetarian or non-vegetarian fare.

If you want to wine and dine in a more exclusive and upscale environ, then you can try a few restaurants and bistros at the Marina Bay Sands enclave like the Punjab Grill and the Rang Mahal. The ‘Song of India’, Shahi Maharani North Indian Restaurant’, and the ‘Tadka Indian Kitchen’ are some other high end addresses serving authentic Indian cuisines.

Indian Festivals in Singapore

The aroma of Indian culture, tradition and festivals has surpassed the nation’s paraphernalia! And this time it’s Singapore!

History says that Hinduism crept into the mainland of Singapore due to the immigration of the Southern India, mainly the Tamils. This reshuffled the existing culture of the nation and a perfect blend of tradition, which had stints of Hinduism incorporated within it came into existence. Like the Indian subcontinent, Singapore soon got its multi secular status.

This region has some very identical Indian temples (nearly in the sense, they are built in the Dravidian style of architecture). One can clearly imagine the mass of immigration, with the large number of Hindu temples all around the place. The “gopurams”, paintings and murals give the feeling of being in India even in a far away land. Hinduism at Singapore is mainly limited within the culture of the Southern Dravidians or the Tamils.

Singapore gets more colorful and vibrant during the celebration times of Indian festivals: Deepavali, Thaipusam, Pongal and Navrathri. What makes the celebration more unique is the eagerness, happiness and interest with which these are celebrated at a place far away than the own country. Unless and until you get the experience of celebrating any of these festivals at Singapore, one can’t figure out the exceptionality of these celebrations at Singapore.

Deepavali: It isn’t just the “festival of lights” when you are at Singapore! Indian communities at Singapore light sacred lamps for a month. Oil lamps are lit and people seek the blessings of Goddess Laxmi for ushering bliss to the family in terms of health, wealth and prosperity. Festive shopping, colorful streets and new clothes clad people move around the market celebrating the festival.

Thaipusam: It is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Tamils and Indians at Singapore. Blessings are sought from Lord Murugan. Devotees follow stringent procedures for pacifying their God, like piercing of face, tongue and body parts. In a general practice kavadis (semi circular wooden or metal arches) are pierced to the bodies of the devotees with spikes and hooks. The word “Thaipusam” is derived from two different words: “Thai”, the name of the month which is January/February in the English calendar and “pusam” meaning full moon. The festival is celebrated in the month January/February in a full moon day. People have a belief that any rituals performed during “Thaipusam” makes them cured from all sorts of diseases. Meditation, fast, prayer is done throughout the day. 

Navrathri: It is one of the heavily celebrated rituals in India. At Singapore, the rituals and practices are same as that of the Indian culture and devotees worship Goddess Laxmi, Durga and Saraswati ardently for nine days. Prayers and fast are the important aspects of this festival. And the tenth day is celebrated with much pomp and show: it is the win of good over evil. Goddess is placed on a wooden chariot and paraded all around the temple for being victorious against the demon king Mahisasura.
 
This brief review of Indian festivals at Singapore is all about the global acclamation of the rich Indian custom in a foreign land!