Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Southall: Tourists Paradise

Southall Railway Station
Southall is a large suburban district of west London, England, and part of the London Borough of Ealing. It is situated 10.7 miles (17.2 km) west of Charing Cross. Neighbouring places include Yeading, Hayes, Hanwell, Heston, Hounslow, Greenford and Northolt

The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London. A branch railway line from Southall railway station to the Brentford Dock on the Thames was built by Brunel in 1856. The train doors at Southall open to a sweet mix of incense and spices, with signs welcoming visitors in English and Punjabi.
Vaishaki (Harvest Festival) and Easter Procession
Southall is primarily a South Asian residential district, sometimes known as "Little India". During the 1920s and 1930s Southall was the destination of many Welsh migrants escaping from the harsh economic conditions of their homeland. For many years, Welsh accents were very commonplace in the area.
Broadway Market, Southall
In 1950, the first group of South Asians arrived in Southall, reputedly recruited to work in a local factory owned by a former British Indian Army officer. This South Asian population grew, due to the closeness of expanding employment opportunities such as London Heathrow Airport. The most significant cultural group to settle in Southall are Asians. According to the Commission for Racial Equality, over 55% of Southall's population of 70,000 is Indian/Pakistani, with less than 10% being White British. There are ten Sikh Gurdwaras in Southall and one of them won the Ealing Civic Society Architectural Award in 2003. The Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, which opened in 2003, is one of the largest Sikh temples outside India. There are two large Hindu 'Mandir' temples, the Vishnu Hindu Mandir on Lady Margaret Road and the Ram Mandir in Old Southall. There are more than ten Christian churches including 5 Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist and several Pentecostal or Independent. There are three Mosques 'Masjids' in Southall, the Abubakr Mosque situated on Southall broadway, the Central Jamia Masjid Mosque and the Jamia Masjid Islamic Centre. People of many faiths live, work and pray in close quarters. This area is culturally rich and tourist friendly. Major Indian banks like State bank of India, ICICI and Bank of baroda have branches here to target Indian origin people. Southall Broadway is the only place where you can see everything Asian, from food, spices, clothes, restaurants, take-away and jewellers. That’s where you’ll get breathtaking lehngas, saris and salwaar kameezes. From heavily embroidered ensembles to understated chic apparel, the choice is quite wide here. The Southall shops do not close on bank holidays. Most are open as usual on all occasions.
Indian Sweets and Himalaya Place Theater
Southall has many well known restaurants such as Chaudhry's TKC, established in 1965 was one of the first Punjabi restaurants in the UK. Jelabi Junction is internationally famous for its freshly cooked jelabi, a batter fried in oil and quick dipped in sugar syrup. A meal here can be had for about £10 Mirch Masala, specializes in Punjabi fare, and serves most of its sinus-searing dishes Karahi style, in a metal bowl.You can even find pure vegetarian and Jain food here easily.

Southall has also appeared in Bollywood films as well, including Patiala House and Goal. Remember the huge success of Bend It Like Beckham, Gurinder Chadha's 2002 movie about a football-mad Asian girl that was also shot partly in Southall and starred Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley.
Movies Shot at Southall
If you are in London, you must visit Southall once during your travel. Ethnic diversity has transformed Southall into a major tourist attraction in UK.

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