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|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Chennai North|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Harbour|
Sowcarpet (Tamil: சௌகார்பேட்டை) is a sprawling neighborhood in the northern part of Chennai, India. Sowcarpet is one of the oldest neighborhoods of the city with narrow streets and vintage buildings. It is a bustling commercial area of the city, and a range of wholesale markets are located here.
The name is said to be derived from Sahukar meaning moneylender. Another explanation shows it to be derived from Chowk meaning open market area in a junction.
There is a sizable North 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.
Most Streets in Sowcarpet are rather narrow, with a few exceptions like Mint Street and nearby area. The buildings in the streets are so close to each other that they look like they share a common wall. 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 chaat and other delicacies. Patni Plaza and Naidu Plaza are some of the well known shopping malls in the area.
Sowcarpet is filled with small shops selling various goods. 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 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 at which a variety of merchandise are available, and also because it is the main shopping centre for Chennai.
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