August 03, 2012

South City Mall, Calcutta

I believe the South City Mall outstrips all the malls in Delhi & NCR in terms of size. & I never thought Calcutta boasts of such a large & lively place as this. Visiting the mall on a Saturday afternoon/evening with my friends Aakash & Sunil on the same trip when we visited the Calcutta Zoo (see for more details & photographs of the Calcutta Zoo), I had been told by my Bengali friends that the mall is gigantic, I took their words with a pinch of salt, after all don’t most Bengalis think Calcutta is the best city in the world? Most of them had even said Calcutta Zoo is largest in Asia, but it wasn’t. In fact the Delhi Zoo is much much larger than it. But guess what - for the first time, my Bengali friends were right!!

South City Mall

As we entered the mall, security guards manning defunct metal detectors welcomed us, they smiled when I stepped before them for a pat-down check & let me in without any. Aren’t these guys concerned that someone can smuggle in any illegal substance or weapon in the mall? Moving around the mall, we saw almost all the shops there were, from the ones selling garments (Pantaloons, Planet Wear) to the ones selling electronic accessories (Fundamental, NEXT) & cameras (Canon, Sony, Nikon). The mall houses large showrooms of all these big brands & has been built to maximize the shopping experience. The shops have been clubbed together according to what they have to offer. So while food shops are on the top & ground floors (inside Spencer’s Retail), electronic accessories are on the first floor, while cloth showrooms jostle for space with the mighty Spencer’s on the ground floor. The mall was next to empty & we didn’t see many people around. This allowed me to take some nice photographs inside the mall, especially from the third (& last) floor. Being bookworms, all three of us were salivating as soon as we spotted Star Marks. The book shop had almost half of the floor to itself & believe me I had never seen so many books stacked at one place. Fiction, comics, science books, coffee table books & even kids colouring books – the shop had it all. The smell of new books was enough to drive us crazy & we picked one after the other book, not sure which one to buy. I was impressed by their collection & even asked them for permission to take pictures so I could upload them on my blog. Sadly, to protect their design & d├ęcor they had a “No Photography” policy. It really broke my heart. After spending almost an hour in the book store, sifting through many a delight’s covers, we had started to feel hungry. Heading first to the Spencer’s store at the ground floor that also houses a small food court, we had our fill in almost all the outlets there, ordering one or two dish from each. After all we are growing kids with a large appetite!! & food tastes much better when shared with friends. I would suggest some spicy food from Bombay Shiv Sagar, their Pao Bhaji is good. The Garlic Dosa at the South Indian joint is delicious. Head to Flurry’s if you have a sweet tooth (teeth in my case!!). Tummies bursting but not satisfied yet, head to the top floor which houses another food court, this one with all the top names – Pizza Hut, KFC, Mainland China, Benjarong.

Big might not be the right word!!

Designed by city architect Dulal Mukherjee for the company ICS Bentel Associates, South City is said to be one of the largest malls in Eastern India & I guess I would take their word for it (there aren’t many malls in Eastern India). The design is impressive with a large glass atrium running through the center of one side & surrounding the roof, acting as a filter for the sunlight.

Whenever you are in Calcutta & are done with all the sightseeing & travelling, head to the South City Mall. There is nothing more relieving than an evening spent with friends & family shopping & eating.

Location : Jadavpur, Calcutta
How to reach : Taxis & Buses are available from different parts of the city. The taxi drivers would agree to charge you by the metre when you board but would tell you that you have to pay double of what the metre shows when you get down. & you have to pay as all the people side with the taxi drivers.
Entrance fee : Nil
Photographs/Video Charges : Nil. But prohibited inside some of the shops
Time required for sight seeing : 3 hrs.

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