The Striving Little India in California

Photo credits: Cchaya Nene (

One of the biggest Asian populations in California are the Indians. Their own neighborhood located in Artesia, California is known as the International Cultural District, a few minutes drive from the famous Disneyland. The Little Indian Village is famous for their wide variety of restaurants and shops that anyone can enjoy. However, the growing enclave is currently struggling because of pandemic. Few shoppers are visiting the shops yet the shop owners will not fail to welcome anyone with a big smile and warm greetings.

Known as a dairy empire in the early 20s and 30s, the location of Little India has been a great spot for a quick stroll for many locals. More than 100 shops were reportedly operating back in the days signifying the growing Indian Americans. It was believed that it was in the year 1971 when Little India was born. It all started when an Indian American started to sell Indian goods such as spices. Many Indian merchants followed his small garage set up by selling Indian fabrics and other goods blossoming the Indian culture in a western country.

Things started to change when the call for urbanization entered the village. In the late 1900s, the tension between the Indian Americans and non-Indian Americans started. The opposed perspectives of the locals continued to grow affecting the adaptation to change of Little India.

Despite the big population of the Indian Americans, Little India could not keep up with the fast paced changes especially when COVID-19 hit the state. Many shop owners claimed that they were already struggling with preserving the Indian culture through sales even before the pandemic because of online shopping and other local shops from the different provinces that are closer to the homes of Indian communities outside the South California where Artesia is located.

However, many Indian Americans refuse to give up the special area where they can easily preserve their culture— a place located in a busy shopping and leisure district. The shop owners that are still keeping Little India alive are receiving different kinds of help from many people to slowly rebuild the village and keep up with the trend. They are still hopeful that like how a simple garage store set up for Indian spices started on once busy streets, Little India will continue to strive and bring back the lively village full of women wearing bright-colored saris, festive Indian music and jam packed authentic Indian restaurants to fully represent the Indian culture in the Orange County.

Written by: Yam Pernecita

Yam Pernecita is a digital marketing intern of PS Media Enterprise. She is a 4th-year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student from Far Eastern University in Manila, Philippines.


A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
based in California that advocates
social inclusion of minorities with
Asian heritage though cultural awareness.


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item The Striving Little India in California
The Striving Little India in California
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