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Vol. XXXIII No. 15, November 16-30, 2023

Tracing Madras

– Ar. Aafreen Fathima S.K., Ninetyeight.madras

The silk saga had it’s humble beginnings in 1923 and opened it’s door to the current store in the 1940s with the establishment of Nalli Silks, which went on to become an unrivaled hub for all things silk.

The iconic Art Deco architecture stands as a nostalgic portal to the past, inviting us to walk through its doorway, where the only noticable changes are in the form of ­electrical fittings and the subtle evolution of the shop’s motto over the years. 

Nalli Silks claims that each silk saree is a distinct masterpiece,guaranteeing no two pieces are ever identical.


Their dedication to the trade is evident from the fact that during the Second World War Nalli Silks was the only shop open to sell silk sarees in Chennai. Everyone else either closed their shops or moved to other locations. 

The magic is not only in silks but also in the experience of strolling down the corridors of this iconic art deco structure, crafted with expertise and style.

Nalli is synonymous with being the premier choice for silk sarees, a tradition passed down through generations. I am truly a avid fan of their magical craftsmanship with the Nalli sarees recently handed down to me by my grandmother. It definitely incites me to go buy a piece of my own soon. 

Imagine sitting on wooden benches that have witnessed decades of stories, having coffee, and wondering if my ­ancestors once savoured a similar moment at Nalli Silks while enjoying a day of shopping.

In the digital age, Nalli Silks continues to captivate hearts, of patrons in search of timeless pieces. I am certainly looking forward to visit soon.

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