World's Most Crowded Place - Ranganathan Street, India

Imagine this: You throw a glass of water high up in the air, and not one drop hits the street! What if every drop landed on a person? How about every inch of the street being covered by human beings? Welcome to Ranganathan Street in Chennai, India. If you need to travel through this street, simply enter on one side and the crowd will slowly push through the rest of the street.
Enjoy the video of the most crowded place on earth

Ranganathan Street, located in the city of Chennai puts the rest of the crowded places to shame. In fact, the so called top 3 "crowded places in the world" put together would not be able to beat this place. This narrow strip of land, no longer than a quarter-mile and no wider than 40 feet holds over 450 shops and over 1.2 million people walk on it everyday. Note that Chennai city itself ranks among the top 50 most populated cities in the world.
A view from outside: Ranganathan Street, T.Nagar, Chennai
This street, which occupies less than one millionth of the area of Chennai city, covers more than 15% of Chennai's everyday retail sales. So, what is sold here? Everything! You can buy anything from a single push pin to gold jewelry on this street. The prices here are lower than anywhere else in the state. This is why Ranganathan street is worshiped by Chennai shoppers. Lately, tourists have been flocking here to get a glimpse of this unique, rowdy atmosphere.
Inside Ranganathan Street: the world's most crowded place
The other reason that the street gets crowded is because it is a thoroughfare for the nearby (Mambalam) railway station. This makes the people pass through the street who are not shoppers as well. The crowd starts to flow into the street from 7 A.M on-wards. The first people who walk in are vendors and shop owners. They open the shops and get ready for the customers. Shoppers start coming in around 8 O'clock and by 10 A.M, the street becomes super-crowded and remains so until 10 P.M.
Police booth outside the street, note that there is a lost child inside!
Everyday, at least 5 children get lost in this crowd and end up at the police booth located right outside Ranganathan street. The police constable told me that invariably all the kids are returned to their parents within a few hours. The cops have a routine of giving serious advice to the Mothers who temporarily forget their kids, while drooling over clothes and jewelry . Crimes like pick-pocketing have become rare in the last few years. This is largely due to plenty of police personnel present all over the street.
During my trip, 3 gangsters (?) insisted that I take their picture :)
The influx of people increases dramatically during festivals like Deepavali, Pongal and New Year. During these times, the crowd here can quadruple (!) and can put American concerts to shame. The shops put beautiful color lights over their walls during festivities and make the street glow.
Ranganathan street's crowd overflows into the nearby Usman Road, blocking vehicle traffic
Saravana Stores is the leader among all other shops. It has multiple, multistory buildings on the street selling knickknacks, toys, clothing, jewelry and everything else. Interestingly, the owner of this giant store, Selvarathinam began his life as a street vendor in Ranganathan street. The other important shops are Rathna Stores and Jeyachandran Textiles.
A street vendor sells Samosa, Vadai and Spicy Sundal
Street vendors sell lots of eatables like vadai, popcorn and samosa. Tea, coffee, rose-milk, badam milk and a hundred other beverages are sold on the street. Flashy ornaments, clothes, toys, books and other accessories are also sold on the pavement. While buying from street shops, don't hesitate to bargain. You will be surprised at how much the price goes down.
A picture taken from the middle of Ranganathan Street
Tailor shops on this street are popular for their quick delivery. Most clothes in India are tailor-made, and the skilled workers here will measure, stitch and deliver within a few hours. These "One hour Tailor Shops" as they are popularly known, stay busy throughout the year.
A vendor with a garland of bangles stands in the middle of Ranganathan Street
If you are a tourist, don't forget to visit Ranganathan Street and buy a few mementos. Chennai city has a unique mixture of attractions like Mamallapuram and Guindy National Park, but this is definitely one of the top 10 things to do in Chennai. Go during evening time and keep your belongings safe. It will be an exciting adventure.

1 comments:

Gave me an anxiety attack just looking at how crowded those streets are!

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