Nearly 7,000 people gathered in northern Indonesia to witness the inauguration of ‘Little India Gate’, the first-of-its-kind structure in the country which recognises the contribution of Indian community in the development of Medan city.
The new structure was inaugurated jointly by India’s ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste Pradeep Kumar Rawat and Mayor of Medan H T Dzulmi Eldin S on October 27 at Kampung Madras or Madras Village area in Medan city, the fourth largest city in the country.
About 7,000 people witnessed the historic moment with great enthusiasm, the Indian embassy in Jakarta said in a statement.
Ambassador Rawat said it was a true representation of what Indonesia stood for, which is ‘Bhinneka Tunggal Ika’ or Unity in Diversity and of the Indian belief in ‘Vasudev Kutubakam’, meaning the world is one family.
Mr. Rawat assured the Mayor that the Indian embassy in Jakarta and the Indian Consulate in Medan would assist in promoting ‘Little India Gate’ as an important tourist destination in Medan, especially for Indian tourists.
“Little India could also become a bridge between the two countries in terms of trade and commercial relations,” he said in a statement.
The Mayor in his speech said the new structure will be promoted as an iconic tourist spot in Medan city as it is the first such structure in entire Indonesia.
The gate also represents the immense potential in the Indian community and a recognition of their contribution in the development of Medan city, Mr. Dzulmi said.
Kampung Madras area is one of the city’s significant ethnic enclaves comprising a large population of people of Indian descent whose ancestors had settled down in Medan in mid-nineteenth century. Every year, Kampung Madras becomes a meeting point for Hindu and Tamil festivals such as Thaipusam or the Tamil New Year, Pongal and Deepavali.
Not only is it home to the Sri Mariamman Koil, one of the oldest Hindu temples of North Sumatra, but it also houses mosques belonging to the South Indian Muslim community, churches including an Indian Catholic church that dates back to 1912, a Gurudwara and a Buddhist temple, the statement said.