Umbrella Shops in Chennai

The Life and Times of the umbrella



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Let us explore Umbrella Shopping in the city of Chennai.

Umbrella Shopping: Ebrahim Currim & Sons – Stag Umbrellas (Thatha Kodai)

The first recorded use of the umbrella was about 3500 years ago. Umbrellas were initially a symbol of wealth and nobility. In other words, they were first designed to protect the nobles and aristocrats from sunlight. Umbrellas were also carried by wealthy women It is a quintessential Far Eastern contraption that later caught on all over the world.

The umbrella had begun to flourish in France by the early 18th century. A Paris merchant, Jean Marius, invented a lightweight, folding version that, with added waterproofing materials, could protect users from both rain and snow. In 1712, the French Princess Palatine purchased one of Marius’s umbrellas. Soon thereafter, it became a must-have accessory for noblewomen across the country. Later, British umbrella users reported being teased for mimicking the French carrying umbrellas in public.

Now, many centuries and several improvements later, the umbrella has become what it is now; a necessity in times of sun & rain. Above all, its miniature version is used as cocktail decoration.

As a matter of fact, the first foldable pocket umbrella was created in 1928.

Umbrella Shopping: Different types of umbrella

The classic umbrella

Firstly, it has a very old & simple design. It is large, mostly black in colour and opens and closes easily with  an easy mechanism. This is  the most commonly used  umbrella and manufactured in large numbers in India.

Automatic umbrellas

They come in a variety of bright colors and designs, can be opened and closed with a simple button on the handle, using one hand. This is mostly used by women and children

Umbrella shops in chennai

Pic credit :- amazon

Compact umbrella

Pocket friendly one, that comes as a three-fold or a four-fold design.  For example, this  measures about 8 inches when closed and fits easily into a handbag. This cannot be used when the wind is strong and the rain is heavy. It is quite small for that.

Bubble umbrella

It is transparent and dome shaped and covers a person up to the shoulder. The purpose is to ensure vision through the transparent material.

 Bubble Umbrella

Pic credit:- Bella Umbrella

Kids umbrella

It is small in size and brightly colored, as it is meant for children . It protects them from sun and rain . Today, the market is flooded with kids umbrellas. They come with cartoon & Disney characters.

High wind umbrella

These are made from thicker material and can hence withstand high winds.

 Disney Umbrella

pic credit: indiamart

Beach umbrella

It is a large stationary umbrella that protects multiple persons from sunlight. For instance, some  of the umbrellas are coated to absorb harmful UV radiation. These are mostly used in public areas, such as beaches, patios, and restaurants.

 beach Umbrella

pic credit :- Brand co.

Glitter umbrella

It is a fancy umbrella that is used in weddings and temple festivals. They have a longer than usual handle and have golden colored festoons giving them a grand appearance. In India, it is customary at weddings to welcome the bridegroom  who is riding a horse  with a umbrella over his head.

 glitter umbrella

Pic credit:-amazon

Umbrella Shopping: Ebrahim Currim and Sons

They were pioneers in umbrella making in India. Mumbai based Ebrahim Currim started his career in 1860 mending umbrellas. Gradually, he grew to create his own umbrellas and called his line ‘Stag’. The Chennai shop was set up later on and is currently run by one of his sons. The original Stag umbrella, popularly known as “Thatha Kodai” or “Grandfather’s Umbrella” had the customary sturdy metal frame and handle. The metal frames were assembled together first and thereafter the black fabric was hand stitched around them. Until almost 1960, black starched cotton fabric was used as the fabric for umbrellas. Since then however, nylon has taken over as the material of choice. In recent times, technology has enabled machine stitching of umbrellas.

Legacy Shop-100 years old 

The two storied shop located in Parrys Corner, Chennai, is almost 100 years old. The building has two floors, about 2400 sq feet and stacked with umbrellas from ceiling to the floor. They virtually monopolized the umbrella market for many decades. The shop now sells more than 130 varieties of umbrellas, including the glitter umbrellas used for weddings and temple festivals. They also do promotional umbrellas where company logos are printed on the fabric. It is difficult to choose just one, given the large range of colors and designs. Prices start from Rs.100 /piece. Before the days of online shopping, it was here that one was able to purchase two fold and three fold umbrellas.

They are  popular with working women who would like to keep it in their purse. In a city like Chennai, when, on many occasions, a day starts with bright sunshine and ends in pouring rain, having an umbrella is always useful.


Ebrahim Currim and Sons have also produced their own brand of raincoats. Raincoats for men, women and children in some bright colours are available in this shop. The staff in the shop can repair & replace bent metal frames, torn fabric or broken handles for a nominal cost.

Umbrella shops in Chennai

Pic crredit:- just dial

Today, the century old business is grappling with competition from low cost umbrellas that are imported from across the border but the company has managed to hold its own with competitive pricing and innovative designs.


Our other blogs are :-

10 famous streets to visit in the Parry’s Corner Shopping Market in Chennai

What to wear and Where to shop in Kolkata, during monsoon

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One thought on "The Life and Times of the umbrella"

  1. Anonymous says:

    You have brought up a very good points, thanks for the post.

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