Sowcarpet (Tamil: சௌகார்பேட்டை) is a sprawling neighborhood in the northern part of Chennai, India. It is a bustling commercial area of the city and a range of wholesale markets are located here. Sowcarpet is one of the oldest neighborhoods of the city with narrow streets and vintage buildings. The place bustles with business seven days a week, and there is hardly anything one cannot buy in Sowcarpet.
There is a sizable South Indian community living here. Marwaris from northern India (mainly from Gujarat and Rajasthan), mostly money lenders and businessmen, have settled in and around the area during the 1960s. One can see women walking about in colorful north Indian traditional clothing and jewellery. Many of the store signs and name boards are in Hindi or Gujarati scripts. The neighborhood derives its name from Sahukar-pet. Sahukar means money lender in Hindi.
Most Streets in Sowcarpet are rather narrow, with a few exceptions like Mint Streetand nearby area. The buildings in the streets are so close to each other that they look like they share a common wall. With thousands of people thronging the streets of Sowcarpet, the area can bustles with energy and is messy. The sight is typical of the crowded bazaars of Indian cities - a potpourri of different vendors and artisans, trading and making a variety of articles. The wholesale markets for several goods are in Narayana Mudali street, Govindappa Naicken street and Rattan Bazaar. The area around Kasi Chetty street and Mint street is famous for shopping and one can find varieties of north Indian chat and other delicacies. Patni Plaza and Naidu Plaza are some of the well known shopping malls in the area.
Sowcarpet is filled with wholesale bazaar of different products. Each of the street in Sowcarpet has unique product availability. For example (both wholesale and retail bazaars and shops):
Mint Street: famous for Designer Sarees and Salwars, Steel products (near Ekamparameshvarar temple), Chaat shops and eateries, Jewellery shops, and Jain temples
Narayana Mudali Street: famous for plastic products--chairs, tables, trays, tumblers, cups, gift articles; decorative lights, household articles, disposable cups, plates, spoons, decorative items, pens, etc.
Perumal Mudali Street: famous for artistic bangles, plastic bangles, glass bangles, all types of bangle varieties
Kasi Chetty Street: famous for imported items including candies and chocolates, electronic items like calculator, music systems, batteries, kids bicycles, shirts, trousers, shoes, etc.
There are many temples in and around Sowcarpet namely Kandhaswamy temple, Ekamparameshvarar temple, Renuka Parameswari temple and a couple of Jain temples. The area also houses a mosque and a church. Sowcarpet is close to Parry's corner and just a few kilometers from the Central Railway Station in Chennai. All the buses going to Parry's corner could be used to reach this area. People are attracted to this place because of the cheap rates and also because it is the main shopping centre for Chennai.