This is what Chennai’s Ranganathan Street, the world’s busiest lane, looks like
Thiyagaraya Nagar or more popularly known as T.Nagar is the busiest shopping place– not just in Chennai but in India as well. It is the highest revenue yielding business district. And if you are visiting here, you just can’t miss Ranganathan Road which is the busiest lane in the world if we go by footfall count.
It is one of the routes that runs from Usman Road to the Mambalam train station. The big four shops on this road are Saravana Stores, Jeyachandran Textile and Jewellery, Rathna Stores and Textile India. Saravana Stores and Rathna Stores compete aggressively on providing the town with products that have the “cheapest prices”.
These stores are hugely patronised so much so that it is difficult to get in during the twilight hours of the day. Outside you would find benches for customers awaiting their turn to enter the store once the previous lot strides out. You will find ice parlours or chat salesmen hawking their wares.
On either side of the road the pavements are packed with shopkeepers selling bangles, false hair, utensils, electronic goods, T-shirts and under garments sprawled across in heaps at luring prices. Ranganathan Road is so crowded that no vehicular movement is possible. This road is crammed with customers and those headed towards the Mambalam Station. People bargaining over the purchase at the roadside stalls is a popular sight .
“Whatever prices a shopkeeper quote I chop it down to half of that. I like this place for bargaining is considered a norm here,” says Gomathi a housewife,
During Deepavalli it is said that the crowd is so dense that you don’t need to walk, the sea of people will propel you forward. And amidst it, you feel like as miniscule as an atom or some sub-atomic particle.
Straying cows and the chaotic din. But that’s not all about it. Ranganathan Street is timeless in its appeal and resembles a mela that is shown in old movies. The ice-cream and samosa joints will make you drool. Though this is not the most hygienic place to enjoy your snacks, these food stuffs sell like hot cakes.
Kishore Biyani of Big Bazaar was inspired by Saravana Stores and drew inspiration from the stocking and selling practices. A Tamil movie Angaadi Theru neatly showed the horrible working conditions of the shop assistants here. Nevertheless, it said the street is hailed for providing us with the best buying options.
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