In Chennai aka Madras, T.Nagar’s Ranganathan Street is one of the most popular destinations for shopping. You can buy everything you would need for a small army here, right from textiles, footwear, kitchen utensils, grocery, electronics, jewellery, and everything in between. The area is known to be packed with a bustling crowd on any given day, especially before festival days when you will be squeezed from all sides even when you are just passing through the place. With basic caution from the shopper’s side, the place is safe to visit – while physical harassment of ladies and pickpocket thefts are non-zero occurrences, they are not common as well – the local police take a lot of effort including CCTV and watch towers during Deepavali & Pongal purchase seasons.
A few years ago, I had visited the area when it was empty like the day after Diwali (2015). Wanting to experience it again, last week, I went there in the early hours of a working day, as part of my morning walk. The time before the shops are open presents you with a different facade of the area. Join me on a photo tour to experience the same. Without its buzzing crowd and the chaos, it was calm, and a bit ethereal.
சென்னை தி. நகர் ரெங்கநாதன் தெரு, இந்தப் பிரபலக் கடைத்தெருவுக்கு என்னோடு ஒரு காலை நடைக்கு வரவும், படங்கள் மூலமாக.
Near the entrance to Ranganathan Street from Usman Roadside
From my birth till my teenage years, I had lived in a house in the same compound as my father’s book business (LIFCO) here and hence I was familiar with the majority of the shopkeepers and even the street hawkers. In the last quarter-century, the area has improved a lot, in terms of cleanliness and orderliness and the shops composition and owners have transformed too.
I have witnessed great communal harmony here (as is in most parts of my city) when I lived here and I believe it continues till date – Muslim prayer calls on Friday were regular occurrences, Good Friday (Christian) processions were yearly affairs and the Vinayaka Chathurthi (Hindu festival for God Ganesa) celebrations were elaborate too – I can remember and recite now, the Muslim prayer song and the Christian prayer song I heard four decades ago in Ranganathan Street. The area has a well-known Hindu Temple dedicated to God Siva & God Vishnu, and near it, there is a statue commemorating the social reformist Thanthai Periyar.
On your next visit to Chennai, do make a visit to Ranganathan Street and you are likely to enjoy it.