By Eric Lim
Pahurat Little India is the area bounded by Pahurat Road, Chakraphet Road and Triphet Road, just west of Yaowarat, Chinatown Bangkok.
Pahurat Road was constructed in 1898 and named after Somdet Chaofah Pahurat Maneemai, the son of King Rama V. The Indians moved into this area shortly after the road was built and the area soon grew into an Indian community.
Bangkok's Little India is well known for its wide range of textiles, silk, cotton, wool and cashmere along Pahurat Road, Triphet Road and Chakraphet Road. Besides textiles, these shops sell a wide collection of statues and pictures of Indian deities, Indian CDs, VCDs, bracelets, trinkets and sandals.
What's more fascinating is the area behind Pahurat Road; an area about 200m by 100m, packed with stalls selling more of what's displayed in the main streets. In this labyrinth of narrow lanes, barely wide enough for a person to pass through, is the Pahurat textile market.
Though Pahurat Little India is predominantly Indian, mainly Sikh, there're also several Thai shops. The sounds of fluent Thai, Punjabi and other Indian dialects provide a harmonious cultural blend. In the back lanes, the strains of Hindi music and the piquant aroma of Indian food fill the air.
Careful you don't lose your bearings when you are walking through these shops. You could enter a shop on one side and emerge into a complete different lane.
Located at the heart of the community is a six story Sikh temple, Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha, a white building trimmed in gold and topped with a glittering golden dome.
The temple was built in 1932 and it's reputed to be one of the largest Sikh temples outside India. What used to be the ATM department store next to the Sikh temple is undergoing a complete overhaul.
It's not known what is going to be on the site. Soi ATM leading to the Sikh temple is now rather messy owing to the construction work.
On the other side of Pahurat Little India is the Old Siam Plaza, a spacious shopping center with an old colonial design that's in stark contrast to the congestion just across the street.
Pahurat Little India, the home of the Thai-Indian community, is one of the many communities that make up the rich cultural mosaic of Bangkok.
Update on Soi ATM - October 2007
Our first visit to Pahurat was two years ago. They were then rebuilding the department store next to the Sikh temple. Today, the new building is up though the interior is still incomplete.
It’s going to be the India Emporium which covers up the entire side of the Sikh temple. The golden dome is only visible from a limited angle. Compare this with the older photo.
As a result of this new building, Soi ATM is now reduced by more than half its original width.
Revisiting Pahurat Little India – 22 August 2011
I went back to Pahurat yesterday to see the changes to the area. The India Emporium which was under construction in Soi ATM since my last visit in 2007 is now ready. It’s a three-storey air-conditioned shopping mall with banks, restaurants, a food court and plenty of sari and textile shops.
Let’s take a look inside the India Emporium which is next to the Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha Sikh Temple in Chakraphet Road.
The old textile shops are still around but at least with the India Emporium shoppers can shop in air-conditioned comfort less the crush and congestion of the old textile market.
Just across the old textile market in Pahurat Road I found another new shopping mall and guess what, it’s called China World!
Old Siam Plaza is still there and I think a building designed like this won’t go out of fashion.
It’s difficult to get a good photo of the Sikh temple because of the close proximity of the surrounding buildings. It’s still possible up on the pedestrian bridge over Pahurat Road.
Map of Pahurat Little India Bangkok
How to get there
By MRT Blue Line
Take the MRT Blue Line to BL30 Sam Yot, from there it's a 500 m walk to Pahurat
By river boat
Take the Chao Phraya river boat to N6 Memorial Bridge Pier near where the King Rama I Monument is located.
Walk along Tripetch Road pass Wat Ratchaburana on your right.
Turn right into Pahurat Road and you're there.
You'll know you're at the right place if you spot the Gandhi store along Pahurat Road.
The Pahurat textile market is just south of Pahurat Road. If you switch to the satellite image version and zoom in on the Sikh Temple (second pointer from the right), you’ll be able to see the golden dome.
To return to other Bangkok Communities.
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Some other ethnic communities