Stall owner K. Chandran, 55, said although business was still slow, just like the previous years, things would usually pick up as the festival draws near. Pic by NSTP/ MUHD ASYRAF SAWAL

KUANTAN: As Deepavali draws closer, Indian Town here, which is usually quiet, has burst into life with colourful decorations, loud music and last-minute shoppers.

A carnival-like atmosphere has set in as shoppers are seen browsing through textiles, decorative items, accessories and cookies in this quaint locale.

As music blares from speakers, customers can be seen lugging heavy shopping bags as they browse through more items, carefully examining each before making any purchase.

The Indian Town is located within walking distance of two major shopping complexes and has since established its reputation as a shopping paradise for the Indian community in the east coast region since it started operations some seven years ago.

Stall owner K. Chandran, 55, said although business was still slow, just like the previous years, things would usually pick up as the festival draws near.

He said most of the items sold at his stall, such as sarees, kurtas and children wear, were imported from India ahead of Deepavali.

“Since India has introduced the Goods and Services Tax this year, some items are more expensive and I have to decide on which will be in high demand before making orders. More customers are frequenting the stall now and I’m expecting a huge crowd over the weekend, which is just days before Deepavali,” he said.

Meanwhile, customer R. Radhakrishnan, 50, said Little India had allowed him to save his time and money. Before, he said the family went down to Kuala Lumpur to do their Deepavali shopping.

“You can find everything here under one roof, and although there is a wide variety, shoppers are careful not to overspend and only purchase items that are necessary.

“These days I would only buy new clothes for Deepavali and choose to recycle the decorative items for the house. My priority is to have a set of new clothes for Deepavali and maybe do some extra shopping for the children,” he said, adding that despite the crowd here, only a handful actually made purchases.

Meanwhile, housewife R. Janani, 37, said she preferred the fixed price concept as she would not have to waste her time bargaining with the shopkeepers.

“Having a fixed price will allow customers to be happy as they know that everyone is paying the same price for an item. In fact, some people prefer to shop for traditional clothes online as some (Internet shopping websites) offer free delivery services,” she said.

Meanwhile, a state Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry spokesman said there were no reports of traders taking opportunity of the festive season to increase the price of flour and ghee here, which are among the main ingredients needed to prepare Indian delicacies.

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