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Chettinadu Architecture

architecture of chettinadu

The exciting Chettinadu and its environs beckon with an endless variety of heritage and leisure pursuits. Guests can enjoy the life mixed with unspoilt surrounding countryside, dotted with typical and gracious houses and cottages. The Chettinadu palace is a marvellous architectural beauty, built in the characteristic Chettinadu style, depicting its culture. The ancient temples and buildings in and around the region provide an insight into a wealth of traditional building styles. These meticulous representations of a remarkable archaeological treasure, now designated as a world heritage site, speak volumes about the grandeur life style of the Nagarathar.

Chettinadu Houses Chettinadu, rich in cultural heritage, art and architecture, is well known for its houses, that are embellished with marble and Burma teak. The houses have wide inner courtyards and spacious rooms. The grandly and wonderfully embellished houses were created reflect the prosperity of the Nagarathar community. The basic design comprises of a "thinnai" which is an enclosed courtyard and this is surrounded by family rooms. The walls are smooth and are made of special plaster. The plaster involves the application of the finely ground mixture of powdered shell, lime, jaggery and spices, including gallnut (myrobalan), to walls. This technique keeps the interior of the house cool during the hot and humid Indian summers and lasts a lifetime.

The Chettinadu houses are built on a rectangular traversal plot that stretches across two streets, with the front door opening into the first street and the back into the second. Looking in from the main threshold, your eye travels in a straight line across a series of inner courtyards, each a diminishing rectangle of light, leading out to the back door.

The architectural structure of a typical Chettiar home is a study in how a human dwelling can be constructed in harmony with nature. High ceilings, airy and well ventilated, the house has one courtyard near the entrance leads to the imposing main door, usually made of wood with extraordinarily intricate carvings of mythological figures.

The thinnai is a long narrow raised platform that serves as a meeting place and also as a kind of accomodation for travellers and visitors. The inner courtyard has special significance. It is lined with classically beautiful pillars made out of granite or teakwood. The courtyard serves as the venue for the many ceremonies that the community performs on all occasions.