Mahatma Gandhi District – Houston’s Little India

Named after the renowned and influential social activist and leader, the Mahatma Gandhi District is an ethnic enclave located in Houston, with an Indian and Pakistani neighborhood, showing how it’s like to be an immigrant community while leaving a lasting mark on the new grounds they’ve chosen to live in permanently. Dubbed as Little India, there’s a long list to-do list in the area, from getting keepsakes at the India grocery store to having samosas and beer in a bar, rejuvenating through an Indian message, and tasting palatable Asian cuisine, all of which provides a distinct yet remarkable experience. In this article, learn more about Mahatma Gandhi District and the best things to look forward to.

History of Mahatma Gandhi District

During the 1980s, Houston’s Hillcroft Avenue was in a downfall. Fortunately, in 1983, Mahesh and Rupa Vyas opened the first desi grocery store, “Jay Stores,” in Rice Village before moving it to the Hillcroft area. Afterward, other businesses followed, such as “Karat 22” jewelry store, “Sari Sapne” saree clothing store, and “Raja Sweets,” established in 1985.

All of the stores were valuable for the Indian people, as the grocery serves as their connection back to India while in the United States, being able to purchase things they used to have in the homeland. Meanwhile, Indians also commonly get gold, new clothes, and sweets for every celebration, be it from a party, a wedding, or anniversary, marking the importance of the other three establishments.

Stripmall in Little India, boasting an wide array of Indian restaurants

Though these businesses were initially in an undeveloped location, surrounded by farmland and cows, the three businesses thrived and became the foundation of today’s Mahatma Gandhi district. As years passed, more Indian-American and even Pakistani- American businesses transferred to the Hillcroft while the existing establishments experienced significant growth.

Though the area eventually saw a high concentration of South Asian shops and restaurants, it was only on January 16, 2010, when it was designated as the “Mahatma Gandhi District.” It happened in a naming ceremony, where Houston mayor Annise Parker, and India’s Consular General, Sanjiv Arora, announced the change of name.

The event happened after the seven-year yearning of more than 100,000 Indian-American population residing in the city. It was a triumph for the Hillcroft area’s longtime residents, claiming that the designation implied that the rest of the city had formally acknowledged them and that as a community, Mahatma Gandhi District has already come of age.

Raja Sweets is one of the founding businesses in Mahatma Gandhi District

Top Restaurants in Mahatma Gandhi District

Aside from keeping mementos from Mahatma Gandhi Districts grocery stores, clothing shops, and jewelers, nothing can beat satisfying your tummy to your heart’s content. If you’re dropping by Houston’s Little India, below are some of the best restaurants where you can relish the most vibrant and memorable dishes.

Raja Sweets

Of course, it would be a sin not to visit one of the Mahatma Gandhi District’s progenitors, Raja Sweets. Established more than three decades ago, it still remains one of the most popular restaurants in the area, renowned for its gleeful display of Indian pastries. Then, don’t miss checking the other menus. What awaits you are delicious samosa, chicken or pakora, curry, bhurjhi, and other popular Indian food providing a traditional and authentic dining experience.

Bombay Sweets

This restaurant may sound it specializes in sweets, but what this pure vegetarian restaurant offers is limitless. Aside from Indian sweets, you can indulge in a veggie buffet for lunch or dinner, or else take away vegetarian curries, potato samosa, chutneys, or dosa, to brighten up your day.

Himalaya Restaurant

Himalaya is an Indian-Pakistani restaurant renowned for its qeema, meaty lamb shank, pastrami, and Punjabi. Most of the dishes here intensely spice that would genuinely fire you to taste your buds. Be sure to cool off with a glass of cold wine or beer after taking Himalaya’s hot meals.

Biryani Pot

Though a newbie in the Mahatma Gandhi District, this restaurant attracts almost the same people as the other long-established restaurants. Savor tandoori, biryani, curries, and other Indian traditional dishes in a warm ambiance. Though it may take time to wait due to the line and the unhurried servings, all are worth the wait due to top-notch and jolly customer service.