Here Are Some Hidden Gems That You Can Still Find At One Of Chennai's Oldest Malls

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There was a time not so long ago when Spencer Plaza was the only mall in the city, and many a weekend was spent wandering through its labyrinthine corridors, sitting in the atrium and devouring Calcutta chaat, or engaging in some wide-eyed window shopping {so many brands under one roof!}. Time has passed, however, and most of the mall’s sheen is lost, with the place even considered bordering on dodgy. Despite the lack of lustre and the proliferation of newer, fancier, (better lit!) and larger malls across Chennai, Spencer Plaza remains a favoured destination for a few things.


Crazy about silver? Spencer Plaza is your best bet. The innumerable little shops (Shanthi Jewellers on the ground floor remains a favourite) spread across the confusingly-laid out mall sell a number of lovely little silver earrings, rings, a huge variety of nose pins in quirky and interesting designs, and neckpieces and bracelets at affordable prices. These are available in plain silver in classical designs as well as in silver studded with semi-precious stones. Expect dainty turquoise drops, lapis lazuli pendants, bracelets of coral set in silver, and glimmering gold-sandstone studs. 

Leather Goods

Expect to do some walking around, and familiarise yourself with the shops selling leather goods. Many of these are export rejects or locally made unbranded products like wallets, totes, sling bags, satchels and even laptop bags, but some of them rival larger brands in design and pattern. Keep in mind that the finish is not always great, but you’re paying a fraction of the price you’d pay for a high-quality branded item. The shops are also flexible with rates, so talk down the price. And if you’re a man with large feet, some of these leather goods shops sell a small number of shoes in classic designs in larger sizes.


Handicrafts, especially of the Kashmiri variety, are everywhere in Spencer Plaza. These emporia (as well as smaller shops) stock pashmina shawls, carpets, small wooden carved items and some exquisite-looking silver and imitation jewellery. Pricing seems high, and is often arbitrary, but if you have the patience and time (and the desperate desire to own something in particular), bargain doggedly; they relent sometimes. Gujarati handicrafts also abound; bags, bed sheets, Kutch pieces and more bags line the windows of several shops. 


Well known among film artistes and theatre production crew is MASK, a shop that sells a variety of (surprise, we know) masks, wigs, caps and all kinds of other props imaginable. They also have hookahs, ashtrays, temporary tattoos and other knick knacks. Quite perfect if you decide on a whim to thrown a Halloween party next week!

Mobile Cases

Who doesn’t like to dress up their mobiles every now and then? Spencer Plaza has an incredible range of mobile cases and covers in a variety of colours and designs for any kind of phone you may possess. Choose from among reprinted photographs, famous art pieces, colourful little cartoons or plain colours to add some quirk to your most valuable device. 


If you’re a photographer, or even a hobby shutterbug, it’s important you know about Shetala Cameras on the first floor of Phase 1, an authorised Sigma lens dealer and service centre. They also fix lenses at affordable rates, and even offer cameras on rent.


Shreya Ramnath is a trained singer, an avid traveller, and a compulsive Instagrammer. Formerly a teacher of journalism and currently a student of sociology, she enjoys learning new languages for fun and writes keenly on art and culture.