I am super excited to write my first article which is going to be about a style which appeared many centuries ago in Tamil Nadu, one of the states in India. “CHETTINAD ARCHITECTURE”

Image courtesy:Chidambara vilas

ORIGIN: It all began in the 13th century when a group of people named Nattukottai Chettiar’s (the social caste of mercantile bankers) migrated to a place named Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu. The settlement became their region which was also known as “land of Chettiar’s”. There were 96 villages at the period of 1946, currently, 75 among them exist.

CRAFTS: Namely they hold two unique local crafts which are sari weaving & manufacturing of Athangudi tiles. These tiles play a vital role in Chettinad Architecture, it is manufactured by a unique process using soil & glass plates.

Overall, this style is a true inspiration from colonial and palace architecture. The zoning of a Chettinad house consists of a thinnai (outside verandah) which is typically for guests, with room space for social talks on one or both bounds.

An interior courtyard to be used in special events/gatherings, with a raised seating area.

A row of small double rooms that faces the main courtyard was used for different purposes like storage, prayer and sleeping and a small courtyard behind for cooking and for the women to socialize.

The Chettinad houses were usually tile-roofed with a small two-levels & tower at both ends of the front elevation. On further addition, they were made vertically into two-storeyed structures, and horizontally through the addition of numerous halls and courtyards that could accommodate humongous people in various ceremonies.

This Chettinad architecture remains one amongst the vibrant & bold forms of design.

Article by
Ar.Monika Ravi


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