Every single person living in Chennai has an emotional connect with Mount Road. And for others Mount Road can be seen in many of the Tamil songs like Urvasi Urvasi by our energetic Prabhu Deva dancing on buses near LIC building and few scenes from the movie Boys, Kaadhal Desam, Vaaranam Aayiram makes the Mount road, the pride of Chennai.
As we head into Madras week- Let’s explore 10 lesser-known things from Mount road.
1) Mount road which is 400 years old was the first few things the British people built in Chennai. This 14kms long road mainly built for the European employees to travel from Fort St George to St.Thomas Mount near Guindy during the time of Charles Macartney between 1781 to 1785.
2) Higginbotham’s started in the year 1844 is the oldest book store in India which is still at the same place.
3) LIC was the tallest building in India when it was inaugurated in 1959. It is a 15 storied building serving as the southern regional headquarters of the Life Insurance Corporation of India.
4) A. M Buhari, the founder of Buhari Hotel was the first to introduce jukebox, espresso machine, crockery from London to give a fine – dining experience.
The most popular side dish “Chicken 65” was born in the year 1965.
5) Spencer Plaza was built in 1863 is the oldest and first shopping mall in the total Indian subcontinent. Originally started as a departmental store by Charles Durant and J. W. Spencer.
6) Mount Road Dargah is very popular and attracts people of all faith. Hazrath Syed Moosa Shah Khadri who was known to have healing powers came from Baghdad in the 17th century and lived in this site.
7) Thousand Lights Mosque (1810) is one of the biggest mosques in the country. It got its unique name that states 1000 oil lamps needed to illuminate its large assembly hall. It serves as a pilgrimage site for Shiite Muslims.
8) Located adjacent to Mount road is Ritchie Street – famous shopping hub for electronic goods. It has now 2,500 shops becoming the second-largest electronics market in India.
9) Safire Theatre was India’s first multiplex cinema hall was demolished in 2003. Devi Theatre, CASINO theatre, Anna, Alangar are some of the theatres that made Madras filmi.
10) The Gemini Flyover built in the year 1969 is the first flyover in Chennai and third in India. This flyover is also known for ghost- sightings and one of Chennai’s suicidal points.
No, it’s not over. Besides this, Mount road has few colleges, schools, “The Hindu” Office, Agurchand Mansions and some statues of prominent leaders.
Post-independence Mount Road was renamed as “Anna Salai” and Gemini Bridge was renamed as “Anna Flyover”. But even today people call it as Mount Road.
Because Anna Salai is a word and Mount Road is an emotion !!