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A Souvenir For King George V
When King George V visited India, he stopped over at Madras. It was decided that a hand-crafted Kanchipuram Silk Saree would be gifted to him as a souvenir from Tamil Nadu. The person chosen for this prestigious task was none other than Mr.Chetty. As the occasion coincided with the King's coronation, Mr.Chetty wove a rich silk saree with a special border - one he named 'Durbar Pet', or the 'Coronation Border'. At Nalli, Durbar Pet sarees are still available today on special request.
Vegetable To Chemical Dye..
In 1921, when Geigy, an MNC wanted to test-market its chemical dyes and replace vegetable dyes, weavers were reluctant. All except Nalli Chinnasami Chetty. He dared to change, and others followed.
Move To Madras..
By 1928, the famed Kanchipuram weaver, Chinnasami Chetty, was visiting Madras twice a week. His entry point: Mambalam Railway Station. As astute businessman, he seized on an opportunity, deciding on T Nagar - a stone's throw away from the station - for his residence and depot. He later assigned his son-in-law, Mr. P. Lakshmiah Chetty, to manage the deliveries from Kanchipuram, while he managed the retailing front. The rest, as they say, is history.
During World War II...
In 1939, as World War II raged all around, everything echoed a certain despair. Frightened by imminent bombing and armour rolling in, terrified citizens cleared the city. Hundreds of businessmen shut shop and relocated. The Madras High Court, shifted to Holy Angels School in Pondy Bazaar, T Nagar. Amidst all the pandemonium however, one business remained open: Nalli. People from all over Madras came to Nalli for any purchase, however small. It was this dedication that forever etched the Nalli name into the hearts of the people of Madras, forever transforming it into not just a saree shop, but a symbol of Madras's defiance.
One crisp summer morning in 1951, the late M.S. Subbalakshmi, one of the greatest names Carnatic music has ever known, walked into a Nalli store with a blue thread in her hand. The thread was of a particular shade of blue, one that she wanted a saree fashioned out of. As that particular color was not commercially available, Nalli experimented with dyes in their own workshops and true to Nalli's reputation, she got her wish. From then on, that particular shade of blue came to be known as M S Blue.
Grand Opening Of Nalli Showroom
On 26th April 1951, Nalli made the historic move to its iconic location on T Nagar. On an auspicious Thursday morning at 9:15 am, the gates of our flagship store opened to a new legion of Nalli shoppers at No.5 (now No.9) Nageswara Rao Road, T Nagar. To this day, the gates have remained opened to enjoy the patronage of each new generation of loyal Nalli Customers.
In 1953, the year of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, from Tamil Nadu, Mr. V.A.K. Raghu of Royal Insurance was invited for the occasion. Thrilled by the invite, he decided to get something extra special as a gift for her majesty. What he took was one of the India's finest silk sarees: A Nalli.
India's First president visits Nalli Chinnasami Chetty
On a quiet, unassuming February morning, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India's first president post-independence, made a visit to Nalli Chinnasami Chetty. A Photocopy of the cheque that he made out against a purchase of silk saris, has been framed and adorn the wall at our store.