Photos of Chettinad House Designs in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu

In the 19th and early 20th centuries Chettinad was the home to the Nattukottai Chettiars (Nagarathar), a prosperous banking and business community. The rich migrated to Sri Lanka and Burma. There are many who migrate to USA, Singapore and Malaysia. Today, what remains are the old mansions of these rich families.

Chettinad House Designs

Various Chettinad House Designs

The typical features are wide courtyards, spacious rooms, and tiled floors which are extraordinarily beautifully designed. The construction materials used were classy and expensive. The residents there imported decorative items and furnishings mostly from East Asian countries and Europe. The marble was brought from Italy, chandeliers and teak from Burma, crockery from Indonesia, crystals from Europe and wall-to-wall mirrors from Belgium. The wood- and stone-work was inspired by the great houses in France and other European countries. You can imagine how rich they were!

 

Today, their family members, distant relatives who are left behind have pulled down these huge mansions. Many of them who have not done too well in their lives or are disinterested in their ancient heritage have leveled these huge mansions. Some have sold off the property after ripping these mansions of their expensive fittings. Few have converted them to hotels and home stays and do business in a decent manner.

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I visited a few Chettinad houses there which are open to public and was appalled at the grand scale of luxury. Most interesting are the mix of various styles which made the interiors, façade and the architecture as a whole very unique. At one of the homes where they run a restaurant, I saw old Anglo Indian style cutlery preserved and displayed well.

How to get to Chettinad

Nearest airports are Madurai Airport and Tiruchirappalli International Airport.
Largest town in the area is Karaikudi.
Trains run from Chennai to Rameshwaram with stops at Pudukkottai, Karaikudi, Kanadukaathan (Chettinad Station) and Kallal.
There are frequent town buses from Karaikudi to Chettinad.

 

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