Busy South Usman Road in T. Nagar
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Chennai South|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Thiyagaraya Nagar|
Theagaraya Nagar, popularly known by its abbreviated form T. Nagar, is a neighbourhood in the city of Chennai, India. T. Nagar was constructed between 1923 and 1925 by the Madras Presidency government of the Raja of Panagal as a part of town planning activities initiated according to the Madras Town Planning Act of 1920. The town was named after Justice Party leader Sir P. Theagaraya Chetty. The streets, parks and localities in the new neighbourhood were named after important officials in the provincial government.
Though conceived as a residential locality, it is now one of the principal shopping districts of the city. The neighbourhood is considered the biggest shopping district in India by revenue. The neighbourhood is served by Mambalam railway station of the Chennai Suburban Railway Network.
Location and geography
T. Nagar is located about 10 km from Chennai Airport and about 8 km from Chennai Central railway station. It lies to the west of the arterial Anna Salai (Mount Road) and is loosely bordered by Saidapet to the south and southwest, West Mambalam to the west, Kodambakkam to the northwest, Nandanam to the south, Nungambakkam to the north, and Teynampet to the east.
Until the turn of the 19th century, the villages to the west of Mount Road formed a part of Chingleput District. The Long Tank formed the western frontier of the city. The Long Tank was drained out in 1923. That very same year, the administration of the Mambalam zamindari, situated to the west of the Long Tank, was relinquished by its hereditary chief. The region had several paddy fields. During 1923-25, the township of "Thiyagaraya Nagar" named after Sir Pitti Thyagaraya Chetty was carved out of the southern part of the erstwhile Mambalam zamindari. A park was developed at the centre of this new locality and was named in honour of the then Chief Minister, as Panagal Park. Soon afterwards, Pondy Bazaar began to make its appearance. According to historian S. Muthiah, it was initially known as 'Soundarapandia Bazaar' after Justice Party politician W. P. A. Soundarapandian Nadar. A well-planned residential area was created. Most of the streets in the new locality were named after provincial cabinet ministers, Justice Party bosses or officials in the administration.
The laying of suburban railway line from Egmore to Kancheepuram in 1911 resulted in a station at Mambalam. The first bank of the locality was opened in 1935, followed by a second one, the Indian Bank, in 1937. Retail industry started proliferating in the region with the establishment of Nalli Chinnasami Chetty's textile showroom in 1928, which was upgraded as the first Kancheepuram silk sari shop of the area in 1935. During the Second World War, the city was evacuated due to the fear of Japanese bombing. All the shops were closed and the economic activity was halted for a few days that followed.
The reason behind the naming of Pondy Bazaar still remains controversial. According to one version, Devaraj Mudaliar of Pondicherry opened 10 shops on Sir Thyagaraya Road and started calling it Pondy Bazaar. Madras historian S. Muthiah, in his book Madras Rediscovered, claims that the area was originally known as Soundarapandia Bazaar, which the government retained without changing. Save for two of the streets, which were named after two workmen, Nagamani and Govindan, who died while digging trenches for the new drainage system in the locality, all the tree-lined streets were named after the stalwarts of the then ruling Justice Party.
Star-rated hotels started appearing in the locality with the opening of a three-star hotel named Residency in 1991. As of 2006, there were seven hotels with over 80 percent occupancy rates. With the increase in retail activities in the neighbourhood, several famous theatres such as Sun, Nagesh, and Rajakumari have given way to commercial complexes.
From its early days, Thiyagaraya Nagar remained one of the most preferred residential localities in the city. The population grew exponentially during the 1930s. In its early days, film artists such as M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, T. R. Rajakumari, N. S. Krishnan, Vyjayanthimala, N. T. Rama Rao, Thangavelu, Manorama, Sivaji Ganesan and T. S. Balaiah set up their residences here.
T.Nagar's bazaars are frequented by a number of shoppers. On a typical weekend, the number of people who move about on Pondy Bazaar, the suburb's principal commercial area, might soar up to 500,000. During festival season, because of the discounts and reductions offered by dealers of silk sarees and jewellers, this number might reach 2 million. Even on a lean day, about 200,000 pedestrians traverse the roads around Panagal Park, the central part of the neighbourhood.
Thiyagaraya Nagar is one of the busiest shopping districts of Chennai. The neighbourhood is considered to be the biggest shopping district in India by revenue. There are a number of apparel, jewellery and utensil stores based in Thiyagaraya Nagar. By some estimates, the shops in the neighbourhood together accounts for revenues of nearly 200,000 million annually. However, official estimates put it much lower at over 100,000 million, which is still double that of New Delhi's Connaught Place and Mumbai's Linking Road which account for about 40,000 to 60,000 million annually. The neighbourhood accounts for about 70 to 80 percent of the gold sold in Chennai, the most important gold market in South India. Usman Road is the costliest commercial stretch in Chennai. As of 2006, the real estate prices were 11,500 per square feet. Wardrobes stores Nalli Chinnasamy Chetti and Naidu Hall are based in Theagarya Nagar. Other important wardrobe stores such as Pothys, The Chennai Silks, RmKV and kumaran silks and also have their showrooms in Theagarya Nagar. Retail giant Saravana Stores has a wardrobe showroom and an utensils showroom in Thiyagaraya Nagar. Ranganathan Street is one of the most crowded roads for pedestrian traffic during day time. The road is full of big name establishments side-by-side smaller and petty shops that sell all sorts of household goods and garments.
T.Nagar offers a variety of entertainment options. It has grown to become a major hub for the Carnatic music festival-season, with a number of sabhas (such as Krishna Gana Sabha, Vani Mahal and Bharath Kalachar) hosting famous performers.
It also has a number of parks, cricket grounds, and other recreational facilities. The RKM cricket ground adjoining GN Chetty road hosts division IV and V city-league games.
T.Nagar residents are an unusual mix of the traditional and the modern and this is reflected in the way the neighbourhood has been growing. Several new eateries have come up while at the same time, traditional restaurants are also packed. With the city extending its bed-time more every year, the locality has acquired a reputation of always being in the fast lane. The grand textile showrooms close very late at night, and their hoarding boards constantly illuminate the roads. Early in the morning, joggers and walkers take full advantage of the empty roads, with the fresh air that's so hard to come by in this area at all other times of the day. Panagal Park, Natesan Park and Jeeva Park all have their regular crowd and their walkers' associations are extremely active. T.Nagar is also a place of musical intellects. Lot of sabhas are very active during the December month.
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) is located on Venkatanarayana Road. It has a replica of Lord Venkateswara in Tirupati. Darshan, accommodation and some arjita sevas (types of worshipping) and one-day trips to Tirumala are arranged here. There is also a Sringeri Shrada Peetham Mutt on Venkatanarayana Road. The Temple has a large ambient meditation hall. There is a Krishnan Koil in South West Boag Road. Sri Sakthi Vinayagar Temple is located in South Dhandapani Street. Agastiyar Temple is located in Raja Street. A Shiva-Vishnu temple is located near the bus depot. Krishna Raghavendra Mutt run by Udipi Pejawar Mutt is located in Raghaviah Road. Muppathamman temple is a popular temple located in Maharajapuram Santhanam Salai.
Being one of the centrally located neighbourhood with both residential and commercial activities, T. Nagar has several parks and greeneries many of which are maintained by the Corporation of Chennai. The 8-acre Panagal Park is the most prominent park in the locality with all the six arterial streets of the neighbourhood, namely, North Usman Road, South Usman Road, G. N. Chetty Road, Sir Thyagaraya Road (Pondy Bazzar), Venkatanarayana Road, and Doraiswamy Road, converging into it. The 4-acre Dr. Natesan Park, opened in 1950, is another well-known park located on Venkatanarayana Road. It is the only corporation-maintained park that has a separate tennis court for coaching children. Jeeva Park is another well-maintained park in the neighbourhood. These parks are popular spots for morning walks for the local residents.
T.Nagar is easily accessible from most parts of the city by bus. The T.Nagar bus terminus off Usman Road is a hub for services operating via the commercial district, including routes to Mylapore, Kodambakkam, Avadi, Nungambakkam, Parrys Corner, Ennore, Manali, Tambaram, Poonamallee, Thiruvanmiyur, Ambattur, Pattabiram, Annanagar and Tiruvallur. There are also routes to various places in neighbouring Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur districts.
Other important bus stops in T.Nagar are Panagal Park, Pondy Bazaar, Power House, and Vani Mahal.
T.Nagar is home to Ramakrishna Mission, Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao School, Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Senior Secondary school (T.P.Road Branch - From Pre-KG to 8th grade), Holy Angels higher secondary school for girls, Sri Sankara Bala Vidyalaya H. Sec School,T.Nagar High School Adarsh Senior Secondary School, Shrine Vailankanni Sr. Sec School, Vidyodaya Schools, Karnataka Sangha school and MCN School. There are a number of private libraries with vast collections of books.
Personalities associated with localities in T. Nagar
Most of the streets, landmarks and bazaars in T. Nagar have been named after administrators and politicians of the Justice Party.
- Thyagaraya Nagar, Sir Thyagaraya Road - named after Theagaroya Chetty
- Dr. Nair Road - named after Dr. T. M. Nair
- Panagal Park - named after the Raja of Panagal
- Natesan Park - named after C. Natesa Mudaliar
- Thanikachalam Road - named after O. Thanikachalam Chetti
- Sivagnanam Road - named after T. N. Sivagnanam Pillai
- North and South Usman Road - named after Sir Mohammad Usman
- North and South Boag Road - named after G. T. Boag.
- Habibullah Road - named after Sir Muhammad Habibullah.
- G. N. Chetty Road - named after Gopathi Narayanaswami Chetty.
- Pondy Bazaar - Named after W. P. A. Soundarapandian Nadar.
- Burkit Road - Named after H. H. Burkitt.
- Raghavaiah Road - named after T. Raghavaiah.
- Bazullah Road - named after Muhammad Bazullah
- Mellony Road(originally Molony Road) - named after J. C. Molony
- Venkatanarayana Road - named after J. Venkatanarayana Naidu
- Basudev Road - named after C. Basudev
- Vijayaraghava Road - named after T. Vijayaraghavacharya
|Year||All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)||Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)|
|2006||48.6% 74,131||37.8% 57,654|
|2001||46.5% 55,376||48.6% 57,875|
|1996||24.1% 27,463||67.2% 76,461|
|1991||61.2% 64,460||31.5% 33,147|
|1989*||21.5% 24,920||43.0% 49,772|
|1984||49.3% 49,038||40.3% 40,154|
|1980||50.6% 42,566||42.9% 36,100|
|1977||29.6% 22,316||30.9% 23,346|
State assembly politics
T. Nagar is known for voting against the trend, voting against the winning party, on 5 separate occasions, since 1962 assembly elections. It has also become a critical swing constituency, since it has become increasingly closer in recent years. It is worth noting that in the 2006 election, AIADMK were able to significantly increase their vote share, winning with a margin of 10.8%. This is mostly due to the high satisfaction of the Jayalalithaa government from 2001–2006, due to significant development that took place in that time period in the T. Nagar area.
- Note: In 1989, AIADMK was split between Janaki faction and Jayalalithaa faction, and only the Jayalalithaa faction is reported in the AIADMK column since they were the highest vote getter from the divided faction. The Janaki faction got 8,268, which is about 7.2% of the voters.
Lok Sabha politics
In 2013, to address the traffic concerns of the neighbourhood, Chennai Corporation tied up with real estate advisory firm Jones Lang LaSalle to exercise a proposal to redevelop the area, especially the shopping centres.
- Malviya, Sagar; Sangeetha Kandavel (7 February 2013). "India's biggest shopping district Theagaraya Nagar in Chennai to get a retail makeover". The Economic Times (Chennai: The Times Group). Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- Madras Rediscovered by S.Muthiah
- Varghese, Nina (29 August 2006). "T.Nagar: Shop till you drop, and then shop some more". Business Line (Chennai: The Hindu). Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- Prince Frederick (22 April 2009). "Memories of Madras: Of shady avenues and street poets". The Hindu.
- "Weekend before Deepavali, T Nagar crowd touches 10 lakh". The Times of India (Chennai: The Times Group). 1 November 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
- Srivathsan, A. (12 May 2006). "Usman Road costliest stretch in Chennai". The Hindu.
- Kannan, Uma (23 June 2012). "4-decade-old library with 10,000 books in trouble". Asian Age.
- S, Venkadesan (14 June 2011). "Just Rs 750 rent for this 48-year old shop". The New Indian Express.
- S, Venkadesan (14 June 2011). "Just Rs 750 rent for this 48-year old shop". IBNLive.
- "List of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies". Tamil Nadu. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
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