My Mylapore

Mylapore Social History Project initiated by Mylapore Times - the neighbourhood newspaper.

March 06, 2007

THANEERTHURAI MARKET: Another Luz landmark will be wiped out

This story was reported in Mylapore Times on September 23, 2006

Another Mylapore landmark will be wiped out. Soon.

Thaneerthurai Market in Luz, a neighbour of the Sri Anjaneyar Temple on Royapettah High Road is living its last days. The bull dozers are just waiting for the signal to raze down what has been Mylapore’s most favoured market for three generations of Mylaporeans.

The buzz is that a T. Nagar-based person had purchased this property some time ago and has posted his men here now to get the hawkers at the market to vacate.

Though half of them have vacated the floor space where they used to run their business after they were paid some compensation, about 40 others have taken this issue to court. Their lawyer, B. T. Arasu says that he got a court injuction that the hawkers should not be disturbed.

Arasu says that it is still not clear who is the rightful owner of this property and what documents he has to prove this.

But it may safely be assumed that the hawkers who are sticking on will also move out if they can negotiate a ‘decent’ compensation considering the buzz that a huge commercial complex is to come up on this piece of land.

Thaneerthurai Market grew out of the ‘landing’ trade that took place in this area some 150 years ago when boats used to transport goods on the Buckingham Canal ( which originates in Andhra Pradesh) and ends in the Marakkanam Lake, which you sight off the ECR on your way to Puducherry.

Perishable goods were off-loaded in the Luz area and old-timers recall times when these goods were then transported in carts to neighbourhoods like Mylapore.

Senior hawkers at the market say that the well known lawyer Bashyam Iyengar who owned properties in these parts oversaw the construction of the market as the number of shoppers began to grow. Though trade on the canal stopped once it became polluted and dried up, Thaneerthurai Market continued to be the destination of Mylaporeans.

Seniors who patronised it say that you could still shop here for a variety of vegetables at bargain prices.

Till the other day, the sale of greens on the fringe and inside this market was run at a feverish pace early in the mornings.

Many Mylaporeans would combine their visit to the local temples here with shopping at this market and hence business ran high even after dusk.

Lawyers for the hawkers who are holding out say that a Mylaporean residing in Mandaveli used to receive the rent from the hawkers but some months ago, stopped doing so. It then became clear that the property had changed hands.

This market may not boast of unique architecture for it to be conserved but it has been an integral part of the Mylapore life for over a century.

Heritage activists would argue that even places like markets and parks and bus stations whch have been an integral part of a neighbourhood need to be given a second look before they are pulled down or wiped out.

Meanwhile, many other landmarks in the Luz Corner area have disappeared or may be wiped out soon.

For another generation, the Shanti Vihar restaurant complex was the place to refresh either after a spell of shopping or for evening ‘tiffin’. Regulars say that its idli-sambar combo was great. Others say the evening snacks were hot-sellers.

This property has been razed to the ground and a towering complex has been planned here.

There is always some buzz going about the fate of Kamadhenu Theatre. Its managers though get agitated when they are asked if the property has been sold off. Movies are still screened here.

Murudis Cafe, another destination for snacks and traditional food, got subsumed some years ago.

Like the rest of Mylapore, Luz is losing its landmarks.

If you have unique anecdotes on this market and wish to share them, please e-mail to

Photos from top to bottom: Business as usual inside the market: hawkers who vacated now do business on a lane outside: shop space marked with the name of the new owner of the property.

Read the previously posted report on Thannithurai market at