Chintadripet is a community contained within a bow of the Cooum (or Kouvam) River in the center of Chennai. Though I have no idea what it means, the community was once called Chinna Thari pettai due to its history as a weaving community, eventually shortened to Chintadripet. Today it is home to “Richie Street”, where Chennai-ites go to buy their electronics; and a wholesale fish market that takes in fresh fish from throughout southern India, and redistributes it to retailers. It’s also within view of the controversial, 6 billion rupee (US $100 million) Tamil Nadu (former) government secretariat, still under construction, abandoned in 2011 when a new political party took charge, and currently envisioned as a hospital / state medical college.
Our trip started a bit rockily – we were a bit late and accepted an inflated cab fare after the cabbie assured us he knew where we needed to go. Once we started on our way, he started asking us to explain our destination (and didn’t speak English). I was pretty sure we were at the right location and told him so, but he insisted on driving on. Finally we connected him to our fellow photographers by phone and he took us back to the same spot. He actually wanted to charge us extra for the additional loop…
It’s an interesting part of town, especially with the fish market. At 6:30, the fish market is already chaotic. We thought about going in, but would have needed waders to keep our feet dry!
Like most other parts of town, the area’s walls are colorful with political advertising, murals, as well as the marks of urban decay, which provides rich subjects for photography.
By 7 am, shopkeepers were preparing to open for business, and women homemakers could be seen everywhere going to do their daily errands and shopping.
In a nearby park, (mostly) men could be seen walking brisk laps, people were doing yoga, and a group of men even put up a badminton net as we were watching. And like everywhere in Chennai, everyone was friendly. Great place for photography!
For more photos from Chintadripet, see this Flickr set.