GEORGE TOWN: “Little India Penang” has a new attraction. Standing at 12.72m tall, a bright yellow arch now beckons visitors to the busy Market Street.
Built to look like a traditional Indian dome with flower patterns on the side, the arch lights up the night to offer an extra glow on the street.
The arch, which cost RM588,226 and took five months to construct, also has Tamil wording welcoming people to the enclave.
A representative of the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) said it took a month to come up with the design.
“We fashioned it with traditional shapes and patterns based on elements found around Little India.
“It is mainly made out of steel and iron, but there are elements of concrete at the base of the arch.
“The arch was completed in November last year,” the representative said.
Datuk GP Asok Kumar, a shop owner in Little India, said the arch was a long time coming and he was glad it was finally up.
“We have been talking about it for years, as we wanted a sign for people to know this is our Little India.
“Since then, people have noticed, and even customers mention it when they come into my shop.
“Now it feels like there is recognition for Little India,” he said.
Lawyer A. Shaktivelan, 45, said he noticed the arch when turning into Market Street and was taken aback at first.
“I originally thought it was temporarily installed for Deepavali but then realised it was a solid structure.
“It is nice as now people know this is the entrance to Little India, and it feels symbolic.
“Now when I tell tourists to go to Little India, I can tell them to look out for the landmark,” he said.
Located in the heart of George Town’s heritage enclave, Little India offers all things traditional and cultural for the Indian community, including spices, clothes, food, prayer paraphernalia and other needs.
The arch monument was officially launched by Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow during the Ponggal celebration in the area recently.
“The arch will not only serve as a structure to welcome visitors and tourists to Little India.
“It is also a symbol of appreciation to the Indian community for its enormous contribution to Penang’s development,” he told Buletin Mutiara.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) Penang president Datuk Seri N. Gobalakrishnan said the arch belongs not only to one but to all Indian communities of different faiths.
“The Little India Arch belongs to Indian traders who are Christians, Hindus and Muslims and that is the beauty of Penang.
“We would like to thank the state government and MBPP for making the arch project a success as well as for road upgrading work in the area,” Gobalakrishnan added.