The Jakarta Post
Built in 1820, Pasar Baru used to be a prestigious area, replacing the crowded Old Batavia as the location of the central government of the Dutch East Indies. (thejakartapost.com/Ni Nyoman Wira)
Situated in the heart of one of the capital's busiest districts, Pasar Baru in Central Jakarta is home to an attractive fusion of Indonesian, Chinese and Indian cultures.
Built in 1820, it used to be a prestigious place, replacing the crowded Old Batavia as the site of the central government of the Dutch East Indies.
Presently, even after many years have passed, Pasar Baru still maintains its glorious past. Observe and you will see a plethora of shops, many of which are owned by people of Indian descent living in Jakarta. The place is home to many interesting Indian-influenced spots to explore in a day.
Below are some recommendations for where to go while having a "Little India" tour in Pasar Baru.
Textiles and sports shops
Enter through the gate near Jl. Antara and you will find yourself surrounded by textile shops featuring both international and local fabrics – some of them even offer express tailoring and can complete your order in just a few hours.
Among them is the renowned Mumbay Tekstil, located just around the corner on Jl. Pintu Air.
After a visit to the store, turn right onto Jl. Antara to find sports equipment shops, mostly selling golfing gear.
Nestled in the famous Gang Kelinci (Rabbit Alley) in Pasar Baru, not far away from the Bakmi Gang Kelinci restaurant, you will discover an Indian minimarket called Shalimar. The unique scents of Indian spices will immediately hit you, enticing you to come inside.
Shalimar sells various things, ranging from Indian jewelry to prayer equipment. If you are planning to cook Indian food, this is the right place to buy your ingredients.
Walking along Jl. Pasar Baru Selatan, you will find Sai Study Group, an institution dedicated to learning and practicing the discourses of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, one of India's most revered spiritual teachers.
The place is both quiet and calm; posters of Sathya Sai Baba’s words are tacked on the terrace's wall, while a large statue of the Hindu deity Ganesha can also be seen.
Situated in the heart of one of the capital's busiest districts, Pasar Baru in Central Jakarta is home to an attractive fusion of Indonesian, Chinese and Indian cultures.(thejakartapost.com/Keshie Hernitaningtyas)
Visiting an area dubbed Little India would not be complete without tasting the food.
Near the Pasar Baru gate, there is a Wijaya Music Building that hosts a renowned Indian restaurant called Gokul Resto on the fourth floor. Specializing in vegetarian food, Gokul offers dishes containing soya-made chicken and mutton that taste like real meat. While dining here, expect to feast on the vegetable biryani along with mock chicken curry, the seasoned aloo mutter and papadum. Eat all of them with plain paratha, a panfried bread.
Indian spices can also be found in the beverages. Try nimbu pani, an Indian lemonade made from caraway and dried mango, mixed with lemon and mint leaves. It is fresh and a little bit sour with a kick thanks to the spices.
The next destination for tasting homemade Indian food is Aunty Moghini’s house. Located in Petak Arab Alley near the Pasar Baru gate, the house is enclosed behind a blue fence.
The 70-year-old Aunty Moghini is a caterer making homemade Indian food. Must-tries include her chapati, a panfried whole wheat bread, combined with curry made from chickpeas and green beans, and also samosa. After that, warm yourself up with some uniquely spicy masala tea.
Also on Jl. Antara, you will find Taj Mahal, an alternative treatment center that was established in 1998.
Along with modern healing treatments, Taj Mahal still uses traditional medicine with methods that originally came from India and are believed to be able to heal pain in your eyes, bones and joints.
If you would prefer to tour Little India in a group, look up Jakarta Food Tour. (kes)