Palaces of Chettinad

Print edition : December 07, 2018

The high-ceilinged central courtyard of the Lakshmi Vilas mansion at Athangudi in Pudukkottai district of Tamil Nadu. The tiles on the ceiling and floor are from Athangudi itself. The Chettinad region comprises 76 villages in Pudukkottai and Sivaganga districts and has thousands of mansions with a massive built-up area.

The Chettinad Palace at Kanadukathan near Karaikudi in Sivaganga district. It was built by Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar in the 1900s. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

At the Chettinad palace, a large patio with “thinnais”.

The central courtyard. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

A view of the rooftop of the Chidambara Vilas mansion at Kadiapatti in Pudukkottai district. Dome-shaped towers, pedestal urns and other decorations give the architecture a majestic look.

Wooden and stone pillars in the porch of the Chidambara Vilas mansion. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

Wood carvings on a door panel. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

A pillar capital in the mansion. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

The main entrance of the Chidambara Vilas mansion.

Embellished balconies of a mansion at Konapet in Pudukkottai district.

Gajalakshmi is the leitmotif of the facades of Chettinad mansions. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

A domed-tower created to look like a chariot, embellished balustrades and cornices of a Nattukottai Chettiar house at Nattarasankottai in Sivaganga district.

A typical “thinnai” in the porch paved with Italian tiles and lined with Burma teak pillars in a house at Konapet.

A Gajalakshmi mural above the doorway of a house at Keezhasevalpatti near Karaikudi. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

Stucco figurines of Krishna and his consorts on the facade of a house at Konapet. Photo: THE HINDU

A water spout in the courtyard of a house at Kothamangalam in Sivaganga district. Photo: THE HINDU

A carved stone channel in the Chidambara Vilas palace. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

The kitchen with chimney in a house at Kottaiyar.

The palatial decorated homes of Chettiars in the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu are symbols of a colonial-era architectural heritage marked by opulence.
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