Chickpet – Keeping alive 400 years of tradition
Chickpet is one of the most famous shopping areas in Bangalore; this is where you can buy a wide range of clothing, silver and gold jewellery. Chickpet has a history of 400 years and this area is still bustling with energy and vigor.
Chickpet, the bustling commercial area with extremely narrow roads and small footpath, is still the favourite one-stop shopping centre for many Bangaloreans. Chickpet and all the other Petes (market) surrounding it is also famous for the ancient temples and mosques. But however due to congestion and bad roads, the business over the years have declined and many old-timers have shifted their shops to other areas. And if you are bad with directions, there are chances that you might get lost in the various by lanes of this area, so it is advisable to stick to shopping on the main road.
In the 16th century, Kempegowda with the help of four pairs of oxen started ploughing the land into four directions from the point where Chickpet and Doddapete meet each other. These four directions became four important trade market roads. Gradually other parallel roads came up and different Petes came into being in accordance with the kind of trade which took place. The Petes are - Nagarthapete, Akkipete, Ragipete, Balepete, Aralepete and Thigalarapete. Slowly other Petes like Upparapete, Kurubarapete, Sunakalpete, Gollarapete, Ganigarapete, Sultanpete, Cubbonpete.
The old city market area of Chickpet has a line of sari shops on both sides of the lane. The shops follow even into the by lanes of Chickpet. Although difficult to locate and purchase saris in a congested area like Chickpet, one can be assured of quality and variety in the area. Chickpet offers a varied collection of authentic silk and pure cotton sari with most fashionable designs and decorations. It has now become a tourist’s delight and earns heavy foreign revenue as well.
Some of the shops in Chickpet have dealt this business for more than fifty years. Kaiser-i-Hind Depot was a German collaboration and the sole supplier of silk suitings to the Maharajas of Mysore and Gharwal for about 71 years, though they say their business has declined in the last five years they have no plans to shift their store to another location. The shops in Chickpet believe in maintaining such customer satisfaction that they always return to buy the traditional wear of India from these shops.
The area is also dotted with temples. As the cloth traders were all into same profession, they formed respective communities and now every community in that area has a temple dedicated to their god. Some of the prominent temples located in the surrounding area of Chickpet are Kamateshwara Devalaya, Venugopala Swami Mandira, Lakshmi Narasimha Devalaya, Jyothinagareshwara Devalaya and many more.
Some of the best silk saree shops can be found in Chickpet. Byrappa & Sons is one of the oldest shops here and they are known for their Kanjeevaram and designer sarees. Kuberan and Sudarshan silks are two other famous shops as well. Doddapete is the best place to buy stationary items and books for all kinds of exams. One can buy and sell second hand books.
BVK Iyengar Road is famous for all kinds of electrical goods. One can also find lighting shops in large numbers. This street is like the light house for all the petes. Raja Market is famous for gold and silver stores. One can find all kinds of jewellery here, both in traditional and modern designs.
Cubbonpete is famous for dyes and chemicals, there are many chemical companies, and textile spare parts are available here. Colours or dyes for clothes can be obtained; wood work is also done here. Silk handlooms and powerlooms are in huge numbers at Cubbonpete. It is also famous for its vegetable and flower market. There is also a Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike's market where fresh vegetables and flowers are available at reasonable prices. It is also famous for flour mills.