T.Nagar's crowded lanes, colourful displays and reasonable rates, make this bustling hub a perfect shopping destination.
As the hot sultry sun bore down strongly on us, we decided to start our T.Nagar shopping expedition by walking down from the PTC bus shelter off South Usman Road. The first thing that caught our attention was the crowd around the Shiva-Vishnu temple. Looking around, we found that the majority of shops in South Usman Road were mainly juice shops selling cold fruit juices.
Walking further down the road, we found most of the crowd turning into Natesan Street. This is a small narrow road that houses the famous Kerala Chips and the Vivekananda Coffee Shop. With all these flavours wafting through the air, we reached the end of Natesan street which housed a wholesale vegetable market.
Then we reached the famous Ranganathan Street. With the sudden decrease in cubic space per person and not even a tree in sight, we found refuge in one of the many lime soda shops.
Ranganathan Street is located close to the the Mambalam train station. The road is blocked to motor traffic as it is crowded with shoppers during the day time. The main attraction of Ranganathan Street is Saravana Stores which has a constant supply of costumers. Also located at Ranganathan Street are small shops that sell printed material, salwar material and night clothes at a very affordable price range. A meter of cloth would cost you about Rs.90 and salwar materials about Rs. 250. There are also a large number of artificial jewellery shops were bangles, anklets and earrings that are available at very affordable prices. These are not pavement shops so haggling is a big no-no.
We walked down or were rather pushed down Ranganathan Street to reach Panagal Park. Named after the Raja of Panagal, this is a Corporation-owned park and a commercial hub locality of T.Nagar. The area around Panagal Park is known for its silk saree shops such as Pothys, Nalli Silks, Sri Krishna Collections, RmKV and Sri Kumaran Stores. These stores sell plain basic cotton sarees that cost a few hundred rupees to fabulous, grand Guinness record-winning sarees that cost upto Rs. 22 lakhs. Many prominent jewellery stores are also found here.
A small walk then took us to Pondy Bazaar, which was formerly known as Soundra Pandy Bazaar, is a famous market located in T.Nagar. It is an important commercial hub of South Chennai, which offers a variety of commodities in different price ranges. The main attraction of Pondy Baazar are the pavement shops that sell trinkets, dresses, shoes all at affordable price ranges. Trinkets can cost anywhere between Rs.5 to 500. Everything that is sold on the pavements in Pondy Baazar are bargain-able and the ambient noise mostly consists of women haggling with vendors.
Stretching for over a kilometers, Pondy Baazar has a wide range of clothing stores — Right from Levis Strauss, Reebok, Bossini and Globus who's price ranges are unifrom acrosss the city to Big Baazar where there are impressive discounts and bargains and cheaper pavement shops where clothes of lesser quality than these independent retailers are available. They are much cheaper but are mostly unbranded. Down the market is the famous Rathna Stores which is famous mainly for its wide range of kitchen utensils. Also Pondy Baazar also houses the famous Naidu Hall which once specialised in lingerie now has silk sarees, readymade clothes and tailoring services. Naidu Hall is relatively cheaper compared to its counterparts and mainly caters to the middle and lower middle class society
Places to eat out are plenty in T.nagar with Hotel Saravana Bhavan, Ratna Cafe, Geetha Cafe, Murugan Idly shop and the famous Omar Khayyam in and around the locality offering good quality food in affordable prices. Also located in the eastern end of Pondy Baazar are two major star hotels namely The residency Towers and GRT grand days.
The wide range of options that T.Nagar offers that cater to every section of society is what makes this locality so popular among the masses.
By bus: T.Nagar is accessible from most of the city by bus. The terminus is located off Usman road and has connectivity to major parts of the city like, Thiruvanmiyur, Besant nagar, Poonamalli, Mylapore, Nugambakkam, Avadi, Anna nagar among the few.
By train: T.Nagar is connnected via 2 stations — Mambalam, off South Usman Road, and Kodambakkam, off North Usman Road.
T.Nagar is 10 kms from the Anna International Airport and 8 kms from the Chennai Central.
Pooja is a II Year student of BA Journalism at M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women.