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T Nagar, Chennai Overview

T Nagar is one of the busiest neighbourhoods in Chennai, and also the most crowded one. It serves as a commercial and economic hub, as well as a residential area. T Nagar is essentially a complete commercial crux within Chennai in itself. It does not have many attractions, but you will come across a plethora of retail shops lined up on every main road and arterial streets. The neighbourhood mostly trades in traditional south Indian textiles and gold jewellery shops. Usman Road is famous for its stretch of jewellery shops, while the Pondy Bazaar area deals with a number famous apparel stores selling silk saris and other garments, as well as roadside shops. Other than that, there are a few parks and religious places, which you can pay a visit to if you feel like. There are some parks too for a peaceful afternoon stroll.

The T Nagar area grew up in between the years 1923 and 1925. It was constructed by the Madras Presidency Government of the Raja of Panagal as a part of the Madras Town Planning Act, 1920. The main area was named after the then party leader Sir P. Theagarya Chetty, and the streets and localities after different dignitaries. After the Long Tank, which formed the western boundary of the city was drained out in 1923, the Mambalam Zamindari situated to its west relinquished. From its southern part, the neighbourhood was carved out.

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Shopping in T Nagar

A major portion of T Nagar is devoted towards shopping. In fact for people who do not live there, it is a mostly a shopping destination. You will find a vast range or products, in equally enormous range of quality and prices. From street hawkers to high-end shops you will get everything.

Usman Road: An arterial street in T Nagar, Usman Road is the home to several small and big jewellery shops - both local and high-end brands. This street accounts for almost 70-80percentt of the city's business in gold. Gold shops, and sometimes silver, gems and other materials too, are set up one after the other throughout the Usman Road. There are global brands like Tanishq, Malabar Gold and Diamonds and Joyalukkas Jewellery, as well as local brands like Lalitha Jewellery, Shree Gold and Saravana Jewellery.

Pondy Bazaar: This is a complete and wholesome shopping area near Sir Thyagaraya Road. Here, you will find almost everything that you want to shop for. It has many outlets of global brands as well, but the main attractions are the hawkers and the street shops. Under thatched roofs and tarps, hawkers have set up shops selling everything from shoes, junk jewellery, saris to toys, gadgets and home d├ęcor items. Second-hand books are also sold at a discount. These shops do not have any fixed price and thus are open for your bargaining.

Saravana Stores: It is the most prominent commercial supermarket in the area. If you cannot find anything in the crowded streets of T Nagar, you will most certainly find it here, no matter how small or big. The store has five floors, and individual stores selling everything from A to Z. There is a shop called Naidu Hall, which was formerly focussed on undergarments, but now sells garments of all sorts.

T Nagar Restaurants

Murugan Idli Shop, Sangeetha Restaurant, BR Mathsya and Hot Chips are some of the best vegetarian options you have in T Nagar. Anjappar Chettinad Restaurant, Thambi Villas and Dindigul Thalappakatti Restaurant which is there since 1957 and serves the best home-style biryani are for the non-veg lovers.

Sightseeing in T Nagar

If shopping is not really your forte, then T Nagar has no dearth of other places to visit either.

Panagal Park
Located at the centre, Panagal Park is a popular location among the locals of T Nagar. Built by Raja of Panagal, and thus the name, it was revamped by the Corporation in 2008. With the renovation, it got all the new features like a walkway, a landscaped garden and children's play area. There is a sitting gallery too, for older adults to enjoy afternoons. You can take rest here in between shopping sessions.

Natesan Park
Yet another refreshingly green patch of land, the only additional specialities Natesan Park has is the skating rink and a yoga deck. The 4-acre land boasts a range of shrubs and trees. It is a good place to get some fresh air.

Dr MGR Memorial House
If you take an interest in Tamil politics and its history, you might as well pay a visit to the memorial house for its 1977 to 1987 chief minister, legendary Maruthur Gopala Ramachandran. The memorial displays photos, documents and other memorabilia of his political career as well as some personal moments.

Religious Shrines
A religious-minded person will find multiple shrines to visit in T Nagar area if they want to pay a visit. There is a Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam temple for Lord Balaji on Venkatanarayana Road, and Kasi Vishwanathar temple and Shiva-Vishnu temple with both the deities near the bus depot. There are both catholic and protestant churches, and mosques too within the few kilometres radius of T Nagar.

History of T Nagar

The first major establishment of the area was a park, named after Panagal. Before that, it got a railway line from Egmore to Kancheepuram in 1911. Finally, after Pondy Bazar made an appearance in the area, it started to grow as a commercial and residential centre. The first shop of T Nagar was the textile showroom of Nalli Chinnaswami Chetty in 1928, which was later known as Kancheepuram Silk Sari shop. Even though the locality had to be evacuated during the Second World War because of the danger of Japanese air bombing, it has long gone back to the axis around which the bustling everyday activities go on unhindered.

How To Reach T Nagar

T Nagar has a bus terminus just off the Usman Road, where buses for all the major areas of Chennai like Mylapore, Kodambakkam, Nungambakkam, Poonamallee end their routes. Other bus stops are Pangal Park, Pondy Bazaar and Power House. This is the cheapest and most convenient way to reach T Nagar. You can hire a cab, but it is best you do not take your own vehicle since the place is very crowded and there will be no place to park.

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