T. Nagar

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Theagaraya Nagar
neighbourhood
Busy South Usman Road in T. Nagar
Busy South Usman Road in T. Nagar
Theagaraya Nagar is located in Chennai
Theagaraya Nagar
Theagaraya Nagar
Theagaraya Nagar is located in Tamil Nadu
Theagaraya Nagar
Theagaraya Nagar
Theagaraya Nagar is located in India
Theagaraya Nagar
Theagaraya Nagar
Coordinates: 13°02′03″N 80°13′48″E / 13.03416°N 80.23006°E / 13.03416; 80.23006Coordinates: 13°02′03″N 80°13′48″E / 13.03416°N 80.23006°E / 13.03416; 80.23006
Country India
State Tamil Nadu
Metro Chennai
Languages
 • Official Tamil
Time zone UTC+5:30 (IST)
PIN 600017
Lok Sabha constituency Chennai South
Vidhan Sabha constituency Thiyagaraya Nagar

Theagaraya Nagar, commonly known as T. Nagar, is an affluent commercial and residential neighbourhood in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It 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.

Initially built as a residential neighbourhood, the neighbourhood is now considered the largest shopping district in India by revenue.[1] It is known for its plethora of saree and jewellery retailers, including Pothys, Nalli Silks and Saravana Stores. The neighbourhood is served by Mambalam railway station of the Chennai Suburban Railway Network. T. Nagar is considered one of the city's major central business district, the other being Parry's Corner, the centre of the city. Pondy Bazaar serves as the satellite commercial hub for T. Nagar located around the Thyagaraya Road.

Location and geography[edit]

Map of T. Nagar

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. T. Nagar is usually associated with Mambalam, a common name for the entire area of Thyagaraya Nagar, West Mambalam, C I T Nagar and Pondy Bazaar. Panagal Park is located at the centre of the neighbourhood connecting five vein-roads of the neighbourhood: North Usman Road, South Usman Road, G.N. Chetty Road, Thyagaraya Road and Venkatanarayana Road.

History[edit]

Thyagaraya Nagar social club in T. Nagar

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.[2] 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.[1] 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.[3] 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.[3] Retail industry started proliferating in the region with the establishment of Nalli Chinnasami Chetty's textile showroom in 1928,[1] which was upgraded as the first Kancheepuram silk sari shop of the area in 1935.[3] 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.[3]

The reason behind the naming of Pondy Bazaar still remains controversial[4]. 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.[3]

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.Some of the well established and popular hotels are Hotel Saravana Bhavan,[5] Adyar Ananda Bhavan,[6] Mansuk,etc., With the increase in retail activities in the neighbourhood, several famous theatres such as Sun, Nagesh, and Rajakumari have given way to commercial complexes.[3]

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, Savitri, Sivaji Ganesan and T. S. Balaiah set up their residences here.[7]

Demographics[edit]

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.[8] Even on a lean day, about 200,000 pedestrians traverse the roads around Panagal Park, the central part of the neighbourhood.[1]

Economy[edit]

Ranganathan Street at night.

Thyagaraya Nagar is one of the busiest shopping districts of Chennai. The neighbourhood is considered to be the biggest shopping district in India by revenue.[1] 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 20000 crores annually. However, official estimates put it much lower at over 10000 crores, which is still double that of New Delhi's Connaught Place and Mumbai's Linking Road which account for about 4000 to 6000 crores annually.[1] The neighbourhood accounts for about 70 to 80 percent of the gold sold in Chennai, the most important gold market in South India.[3] Usman Road is the costliest commercial stretch in Chennai.[9] The area around Panagal Park is known for its high-end textile shops, chiefly dealing with silk sarees, and jewellery stores.[10] As of 2006, the real estate prices were 11,500 per square feet.[9] 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.

It also houses one of the biggest private lending libraries in the city, 'Raviraj Lending Library' on Usman Road.[11][12][13]

Culture[edit]

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.

Society[edit]

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.

Religion[edit]

Hinduism[edit]

Below is a list of some of the well-known Hindu temples located in T. Nagar[14]:

Christianity[edit]

In the Roman Catholic Church, T. Nagar constitutes a parish with the Holy Cross Church located in South Boag Road (now, Chevalier Shivaji Ganesan Road) under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore.[18] There is a Missionaries of Charity convent named Shishu Bhavan situated opposite the church. The convent was opened by Mother Teresa herself. Located on Thyagaraya Road in Pondy Bazaar is the FMM Convent of the Holy Angels. This convent includes Our Lady's Nursery and Holy Angels' Anglo-Indian Hr. Sec. School. T. Nagar also has Protestant churches like CSI Kingdom of God's church, Canaan Evangelical Church etc.

Islam[edit]

Some of the notable mosques include the Anjuman Mosque.

M G R Memorial house T Nagar

Parks[edit]

Being one of the centrally located neighbourhoods 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 Bazaar), 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.

Neighbourhood newspapers[edit]

  • T.Nagar Times - Covers local news from T. Nagar and surrounding localities, and is circulated free of cost every Sunday[19][20][21]

Transport[edit]

Bus[edit]

Buses at The T.Nagar Bus Terminus

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 Thiruverkadu,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.

Education[edit]

T.Nagar is home to CDN Thyagaraya Nagar Higher Secondary School (1933-), 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, 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[edit]

Most of the streets, landmarks and bazaars in T. Nagar have been named after administrators and politicians of the Justice Party.

Politics[edit]

T. Nagar vote
by alliance in assembly elections
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[edit]

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[edit]

T. Nagar assembly constituency is part of Chennai South (Lok Sabha constituency).[22]

Pedestrian plaza[edit]

A 338-million pedestrian plaza was planned in 2013 by the city corporation. It involves provision of a pedestrian-friendly footpath on the 1.45 kilometre-long stretch of the Theyagaraya Road between Panagal Park and Anna Salai.[23] It will cover 1,450 metres of Thyagaraya Road from Bashyam Road near Panagal Park to Anna Salai. The plaza will be divided into three stretches with different identities. A 12-metre wide pedestrian space will be developed in the 730-metre stretch from Panagal Park to the Thanikachalam Road junction.[24]

Upon completion, only city buses and motorcycles will be permitted in this area in a 7-metre carriageway. All types of vehicles will be allowed on the 370-m stretch from Thanikachalam Road to the Boag Road junction, where the pedestrian plaza will be only 3.5 metres wide and carriageway will be comparatively wider measuring 15 metres. All vehicles will be permitted on the 350-metre stretch between the Boag Road junction to the Anna Salai junction.[24]

The proposal for a cycle track has been replaced with a plan to introduce battery-operated cars. A multi-level car parking lot has also been planned. Other facilities in the plaza include seating, public toilet and a children's play area.[24]

Future[edit]

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.[1] T. Nagar will also be the site for the Smart City Mission in Chennai as per the Government data.[1]

See also[edit]

Location in context[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g 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.
  2. ^ Madras Rediscovered by S.Muthiah
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Varghese, Nina (29 August 2006). "T.Nagar: Shop till you drop, and then shop some more". Business Line. Chennai: The Hindu. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  4. ^ Keerthana, R. (2012-05-01). "Once upon a time in Thyagaraya Nagar…". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  5. ^ "Saravanaa Bhavan - Home". www.saravanabhavan.com. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  6. ^ http://www.aabsweets.in/. "Adyar Ananda Bhavan Sweets and Snacks | Tamil Nadu | Karnataka". www.aabsweets.in. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  7. ^ Prince Frederick (22 April 2009). "Memories of Madras: Of shady avenues and street poets". The Hindu.
  8. ^ "Weekend before Deepavali, T Nagar crowd touches 10 lakh". The Times of India. Chennai: The Times Group. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  9. ^ a b Srivathsan, A. (12 May 2006). "Usman Road costliest stretch in Chennai". The Hindu.
  10. ^ "Panagal Park". The Hindu. 24 Apr 2014.
  11. ^ Kannan, Uma (23 June 2012). "4-decade-old library with 10,000 books in trouble". Asian Age.
  12. ^ S, Venkadesan (14 June 2011). "Just Rs 750 rent for this 48-year old shop". The New Indian Express.
  13. ^ S, Venkadesan (14 June 2011). "Just Rs 750 rent for this 48-year old shop". IBNLive.
  14. ^ "Temples of Chennai - T - Awaken the Devotion Within". www.greenmesg.org. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  15. ^ "Sringeri Sarada Peetam Temple, T. Nagar, Chennai". www.greenmesg.org. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  16. ^ "Sringeri Bharati Vidyashram - Sringeri Sharada Peetham". Sringeri Sharada Peetham. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  17. ^ "Shiva Vishnu Temple, T. Nagar, Chennai". www.greenmesg.org. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  18. ^ "Holy Cross Church – Churchnagar". catholic churches.in. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  19. ^ http://tnagartimes.com
  20. ^ "T.Nagar | Local Newspapers Chennai". Local Newspapers Chennai. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  21. ^ newspaper, local. "Chennai News". www.localnewspaper.in. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  22. ^ "List of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies" (PDF). Tamil Nadu. Election Commission of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 May 2006. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
  23. ^ Kumar, Pradeep (7 May 2018). "Chennai Corporation begins work on T Nagar pedestrian plaza". The Times of India. Chennai: The Times Group. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  24. ^ a b c "Work on T. Nagar pedestrian plaza begins". The Hindu. Chennai: The Hindu. 8 May 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.