The chief has been drooling over a Madras Guide of the 1950s which has photos of some famed commercial establishments of the city. The quality of print is terrible but still the photos evoke a memory. I have been given the enjoyable task of writing the notes for each.
The first of these is Dasaprakash Hotel. A wonderful art deco building, it was part of a chain built up by Kuttethoor Seetharama Rao who gave up a lowly Government job in 1921 to join his brothers in running a restaurant in Mysore. He later established others in Madras and Ootacamund, and the chain moved to North India in the 1970s and, thereafter, to the USA.
The Poonamallee High Road flagship hotel was inaugurated in 1954, as was its twin kalyana mandapam, Dharmaprakash. The hotel was known for its good Udipi fare, ice creams and comfortable rooms. In its time, its restaurants had seen visitors ranging from Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru to J.K. Galbraith.
Differences in the family and the five-star culture saw the closure of Dasaprakash in the 1990s. The building was demolished in 2010 to make way for highrise after the property changed hands.