Athangudi Tiles Manufacturers in Chettinad, Tamil Nadu

In addition to visiting the palaces and temples of Athangudi, Chettinad a visit to Athangudi tile factory is strongly recommended. 

Origin of Athangudi Tiles

A century back the rich residents of Chettinad imported European tiles, probably it was a mark of their richness. But practical difficulties soon set in. With wear and tear the damaged tiles couldn’t be replaced. And if replaced with local one, the whole design and beauty was upset. It is said “Necessity is the mother of invention!” With new demand many tile making units soon mushroomed in Athangudi. Initially they came out with designs to match the existing patterns. 

Athangudi tiles

Soon creativity set in, and each tile factory came out with unique designs with vibrant colors. The tile units developed a character of their own and they were very much in demand. With time their fame too spread. Today these designed tiles of Chettinad are transported to different parts of the country.

Athangudi Tiles

The lady attending this Lakshmi Tiles showed me around some of the stuffs used for manufacturing and explained the process. I should have taken a video of it and I regret it now. It is completely handmade and that explains why huge time is required to complete orders. They use white cement, sand, pigments, baby jelly and synthetic oxides for different colors.

The process: They color white cement and it is then poured on a glass sheet. The desired design is obtained using molds. The glass surface gives a smooth surface and sheen.
It is dried and then left in water for a couple of days.

Here in the pic you can see her separating the tile from the glass base and the beautiful design that came out; it had stunned me.

There is tough competition in the market for these tiles from the ceramic, vitrified tiles. Therefore there is a drop in demand. The manufacturing time required is more. I feel government should step in and take measures to preserve this form of tile making as heritage craft work.

 

Chettiar Clan's Chettinad Temples of Tamil Nadu
Athangudi Mansion, Chettinad

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