T Nagar is the beating commercial heart of Chennai. It's where the big silk and sari shops are, and the glitzy jewellery stores, and where Pondi Bazaar pulls in the punters.
The locality's full name - which absolutely nobody uses - is Theagaraya Nagar and it was developed from the 1920s, though even the older commercial buildings now standing don't date back beyond the 1950s.
I went for a heritage walk round T Nagar this morning with Madras Inherited, looking at - among other things - the more traditional shops and businesses and the signage they use.
Pandian Coffees are traditional coffee roasters, producing the filter coffee for which South India is (justly) famous.
The signage is in enamel - a sign of something close to antiquity in this bustling, fast evolving neighbourhood (if it doesn't look all hustle-and-bustle in this photo, that's because it was taken at half-past-six in the morning).
Almost next door is a traditional men's hairdressers, complete with old style barber's chairs and mirrors. The signage here is striking - it's wood, with each letter (in Tamil and English) made individually.
The adjoining khadi store - selling goods made from home-spun cotton - has signs in three languages. The one in the middle in purple is Telugu, principally spoken in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, but once widely spoken here by newcomers to the city from elsewhere in the south.
This is the most elegantly signed shopfront - the original business premises of Nalli's the famous sari shop. It has a massive store just next door. The lettering is in an Art Deco style font.
Although the business was established in 1928, this shop and frontage dates from the early 1950s.
Gama Pens, famed for their fountain pens, no longer trades in T Nagar - though it still has a branch in George Town not too far away. But the electric signage remains in place, for the moment at least.
Salam Stores was still firmly shuttered when we went past, but it retains a loyal - if ageing - clientele.
Here's Ashmitha from Madras Inherited holding forth outside a shutter which invites the passer-by to have a cuppa - a pity that when the shutter is down, there's no cuppa on offer.
And if you are wondering what sort of people get up before dawn on a rain-soaked Saturday morning to walk round a range of shuttered shop fronts, here's your answer!
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