Where to Shop and What to Buy in Chennai
Chennai is world famous for its clothes shopping opportunities. There local markets solely dedicated to clothing stores and the choices, along with the prices, are truly amazing, making this a shopping destination in its own right. Naturally, all the multinational brands are available, but the real bargains are to be found in the street markets and in what is known as the rejects market, the best example of this being 'T nagar'. Both silk and cotton are great buys.
This is a relatively more open market area with a modern feel to it than at T Nagar. It also houses a couple of good local confectioners. SIPA’s Craftlink is a fair-trade craft shop, located on Kodambakkam High Road and is worth visiting.
Another shop appealing to fans of Auroville is Naturally Auroville that stocks the organic food grains and other objects produced in the ashram in Auroville in Pondicherry. It is located on DKN Khan Road.
- Location: North of T Nagar, about a 20-minute drive from central Chennai.
This plaza is a typical modern shopping mall with multinational brand showrooms and local artifact shops together with a few eateries. The whole place is designed well and you can spend the better part of the day window shopping here.
Despite some articles being labeled 'fixed price' some shops are open to bargaining, so don’t forget to try your luck. It is a good way to get out of the heat of the day and to cool off for a while. Typical modern commercial mall, with a bit of fancy architectural decoration.
- Location: On Anna Salai road formerly known as Mount Road, five minutes from central Chennai.
Theagaraya Nagar better known as T Nagar is the place to head if you are a serious shopper. Pondy Bazaar is known to produce the most amazing bargains and you can haggle to your heart’s content here. Best of all the locals all speak some English so you won’t need a translator. The area around Panagal Park is also worth visiting.
The lanes are narrow and congested in T Nagar and if you are claustrophobic, avoid this zone. If you are planning to visit, go by train as it is the most convenient way to enter the heart of the marketplace. To pick up the choicest silks head for Nalli Silks. The huge shop is an education in silk saris and material.
- Location: Southwest of the city, about 30 minutes from central Chennai, more because of the traffic than the distance.
Victoria Technical Institute
The Victoria Technical Institute is run by the state and all profits end up returning to the artists who produce the crafts, which are mostly produced onsite. A guided tour can be arranged if you are interested; for traditional handicrafts of the region there is no better place to shop.
Closed on Sundays, it is open only for the morning half of the day on Saturdays. On all other days you can shop here from 09:30 to 18:00. Definitely worth visiting even if you are not buying.
- Location: 765 Anna Salai road, five minutes from central Chennai.