Shopping in Chennai is easy and fun and, like in any other big city in India, one can find anything from traditional handicraft to the latest digital products. Tourists mostly buy palm leaf mats, bronze and brass castings, jewellery, stone carvings from the nearby town of Mamallapuram, ready-made or tailored clothes, and last, but not least, the famous silks from Kanchipuram. Contemporary artworks or genuine antiquities as well as different musical instruments are also items strongly sought after.
There are several shopping areas, all of them located in the Egmore, Nungamabakkam or T-Nagar districts. The most popular are Theagaraya Nagar, known as T-Nagar, and Anna Salai. Georgetown, which grew around the fort, is another interesting shopping area. In the mazelike streets one can find shops specialized in selling only one type of merchandise such as fireworks in Badrian Street and paperworks in Anderson Street. Even without the shopping, a walk here is recommended to get a feel for the Indian culture and life. The best shopping malls in the city are Chennai Citi Centre and Spencer Plaza.
One of the most expensive shopping malls in the city, Chennai Citi Centre offers shoppers everything they can desire in both national and international brand names, and has given older malls such as Spencer Plaza a run for their money. Spread over five floors, there is also a wide variety of restaurants serving everything from Indian to Italian to American dishes as well as a game arcade and a cinema.
Tracing its roots back to 1864, when Spencer and Durant opened the first department store on the Indian subcontinent, Spencer Plaza is today one of the largest malls in South Asia. The original building was destroyed in a fire in 1983, and the mall now consists of three different buildings – the third one being the newest one. Indian and international brands, clothes and jewellery can be found here.
Victoria Technical Institute
Traditional wooden furniture, wood carvings, sandalwood items, textiles, stone carvings and bronze items awaits visitors to this arts and crafts shop, the perfect location for those wanting to lay their hands on beautiful Indian souvenirs.
This is South India’s first fair-trade shop. If you are interested of supporting local artisans, you can buy various crafts and art objects here.
Founded more than 90 years ago, this is one of the best places to buy silk from the Kanchipuram district, with sarees, party wear, wedding sarees and dhoti traditional men’s wear being sold.