We have watched this mall being built from the ground up. And yes, it was all done with ladies carrying cement on their heads, one load, one step at a time. There is a another huge mall here in Chennai and it has a large circular opening with shops all around. The opening is several stories high and though it could have had a beautiful, dramatic design, it doesn't. Also there are three phases to this mall and we were warned when we first came to Indian to keep track of ourselves while shopping there or we could get lost, or at least never get back to our car. All of the advice we got could have been true. Luckily we followed it, and we always went in the same door and up the same stairs and usually did not need to stop at more than one or two stores.
This mall has spokes of narrow halls lined with small shops leading to these central, huge openings. The small shop owners hang their wares in front of their shops so it makes the halls even narrower. Now for the last little touch. There was improper planning for electricity and there are big AC problems. There is NO AC in the halls and the shops loose power often and the one big store where I can find household items runs their AC at about 80 degrees which works sometimes unless there gets to be a big crowd.
Now in describing this new mall called the Sky Walk, you will see that everything is just the opposite from the old one. That is once this new mall was opened it merited a gold star. The grand opening was advertised for the 1st of February and they are only at about 90 percent just coming to the middle of May.
The whole mall is small shops around one big opening. (No long dark halls.) It is huge, light, airy and the first thing you notice as you come in the door is that the AC is working perfectly. On the ground floor and down a few stairs is a big grocery with lots more that the young missionaries say reminds them of WalMart. The main room is four stories of great designer shops and could be exciting BUT, remember everything is imported and so you pay the price. There were a lot of people there but it seemed that most stores were empty. An Asian looking man restrained himself when I stopped to eye a big bag in the front window of the Colors of Benetton. He wanted to come out and invite me in but that only happens on the street not the Mall. I hope a bunch of rich Indians come in soon so this beautiful mall will not go under.
For now the "shoppers" were traveling up the hanging escalators and hardly stopping until they got to the top to buy movie tickets. There is a big food court at the top too but that day we weren't hungry and in the future I will have to think about trying it. When this mall did not open on time there was an extensive article in The Hindu newspaper about the sky walk on the top floor being dangerous. So why were people walking across a bridge from the movie to the food court. It looked like a sky walk to me!