A little adventure in Little India

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Going Out

Little India in Bahrain

The expat population in Bahrain just outnumbers the born and bred locals. The vast majority of those expats being of Indian, predominantly south Indian. It makes for a pretty interesting environment to live in. You’ll get pockets of areas where mostly Westerners will live or Indians or Bahrainis. Just like any other country.

The Indian population has really helped build Bahrain. Literally. Throughout the endless building sites the majority of the workers you’ll see are Indian. As a way to acknowledge the Indian population Little India was born.

Little India in Bahrain

The edges of Manama souq, brightly lit up by the shop windows of Yateem Center.

Little India has been a Saturday event, that started back in December last year, to celebrate the Indian culture in Bahrain. Run in Manama souq, the buildings were painted bright colours, stalls were set up and in the evenings you’d be able to catch musical treats. Mostly Bollywood music played by a band of teenagers. But it brought the crowds in.

Little India in Bahrain

If you can believe it, these guys even had their own fangirls in the crowd. Just two of them.

Stalls of sellers of Indian food, sweets and clothing lined the square. The food stalls run by housewives, selling their home-made food. It was nice to have a cup of chai and just take in the surroundings.

Little India in Bahrain

The crowd waits to be entertained, collectively wearing the same crossed-arm expression.

Little India in Bahrain

Looking proud as they prepared for the arrival of the ambassador.

Then the Indian ambassador for Bahrain turns up with his wife and we watch as all hell breaks loose. Countless people surge for wherever they’re coming from and we try to make a quick exit the other way. Only that never works. And we get caught up in some of the madness.

Little India in Bahrain

The dhol drummers and musicians – leading, and making way, for the Indian ambassador, as he made his way to the Hindu temple at the heart of Manama souq.

It’s refreshing to see these sorts of events in Bahrain. While it’s not the event of the season, it was fun to spend a few hours enjoying being outside, listening to some music, eating a dabeli and watching the world go by. Though as is always the case in Bahrain, more information online and signage in and around the souq would have been useful!


  1. Great pictures! And so interesting. South Africa also has a huge Indian population and Fordsburg, the traditionally Indian neighbourhood in Joburg, is one of my favourite places to hang out on weekends.

  2. My favorite post by far. How interesting. I was surprised to learn that the biggest Indian population outside of India was in South Africa – and now this! Awesome.

    • Thank you Lani 🙂 Think for Bahrain there are nearly half a million Indians living in the country, out of a total of about 1.4 million population in total. It’s pretty insane – they’re the biggest expat population in this country.

  3. Sounds (and looks) like a great way to spend an evening! I can only imagine what the food and live music must have been like.

    • Definitely a great way to spend an evening – amongst the hustle and bustle. I rarely ever go to the souk, because it’s usually just such a nightmare to get to (parking, etc), but nice every once in a while.

  4. moviesandsongs365

    I didn’t realize there were quite a lot of ex-pats of indian descent in Bahrain. I presume from photos I’ve seen that your family would blend in nicely 🙂

    • Definitely. The area was an unofficial Little India, but it’s nice that it was made, more or less, official during this time and now after.

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