Architectural Heritage Safeguarding
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chettinad architecture
chettinad architecture
chettinad architecture
chettinad architecture
chettinad architecture
chettinad architecture

The Palatial houses


The territory the Chettiars once occupied bears witness of the past glory of the Chettiar families, with their emblematic palatial homes, traditional Tamil and French Art Deco style houses and remarkable sense of urban planning The different architectural influences reflect the way of life of the Chettiars, who knew how to combine their vibrant traditions with influences from the global economy. The planning style has evolved over decades. Pavilions, halls and courtyards were added for business purposes and as areas for receptions and weddings, making these traditional houses real palatial homes. In order to build these palaces, materials and expertise were brought from all over the world which added to the cultural glory of Chettinad. Constructed on mounds, they feature verandahs, reception halls and court rooms situated along a longitudinal axis. This organization mirrors the structure of the society and the rules of the community. On the ground floor, the architecture is typically Tamil, with the outdoor and inner tinnai, the central courtyard (nadu vaasal) with its rooms (aria) on each side. However one can see western classical architecture on the front façade and higher floors, with features such as series of double columns, cornices, multi-level balustrades, parapets and symmetrical organization following the classical genre. The Chettinad region comprises a great number of striking “Art Deco” style houses (also called “French Art Deco”). Largely built in the 1930/1940’s, the buildings display architectural elements of different influences taken from both East and West. Many villages have examples of this typical late Art Deco style.
Chettinad Architecture
Chettinad Architecture
Chettinad Architecture
Chettinad Architecture
Chettinad Architecture
Chettinad Architecture

The Clan Temples

Chettinad is a geo-cultural territory which is organized around the 9 clan temples. Each member of the Chettiar community belongs to a clan and each clan has its own temple run by the committee.
The 9 ClanTemples are: Illayathakudi - Mattur - Vairavanpatti - Iraniyur - Pillaiyarpatti - Nemam - Illupaikudi - Soraikudi -  Vellankudi