Architectural Heritage Safeguarding
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Chettinad Heritage

The Chettiars belong to a lineage of wealthy traders and financiers who made their fortunes by extending their business to the whole of Southeast Asia, particularly during the 19th century when they were at the peak of their economic power. As a result of their travelling, the Chettiars integrated diverse influences into their traditions which contributed to their uniqueness.  Their villages were constructed as per precise and sophisticated rules of urban planning, represented namely by orthogonal streets and specific water management system, which are also directly linked to the Tamil tradition with rectangular plots and houses with an inner courtyard.   
The economic pressure and land speculation in the big cities of Tamil Nadu have eliminated almost all the traditional houses in the State.  Chettinad is the only remaining site which bears testimony to the traditional Tamil architecture and urban planning.