"The Nattukkotai Chettiars : Enter the world of the Chettiars. Dig deep to find more about the Chettiar community, Chettiars History, Chettiar Heritage and the famous Chettinad architecture "

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The Nattukkotai Chettiars Holidays: A Heritage Tour

Hotel Royal Park
Hotel Royal Park
Star
Address: Semma Madam, Ramnad highway, Rameswaram
Location: Ramnad Highway
Property Type: Hotel Royal Park is a unit of World Park Hotels.
Accessibility: Madurai Airport-190 km, Nearest Railway Station-2 km


Maharajah Hotel
Maharajah Hotel
Star
Address: Near the main temple, 7 Middle street, Rameswaram
Location: City Centre
Property Type: Hotel Maharaja is one of the most economy hotel of Rameshwaram.
Accessibility: Madurai Airport- 160 km, Nearest Railway Station- 130 km

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About The Nattukkotai Chettiars: A Heritage Tour

First it was their cuisine, then it was Chettinad saris, the richly coloured textiles in cotton and silk, that hinted at a distinctive Chettiar community. Close on the heels was the art and craft of Chettinad that began to flood the antique shop. There were beautifully proportioned pillars in rare tropical woods, ornately craved doorways and doors, narrow panels of wood that came from the lintels and coffered ceiling of former homes, the four branched capitals carved in wood, taken from pillars, that were upturned and used as the base for glass-topped tables, hanging glass chandeliers, glazed tiles pressed tiles, marble-topped tables decorated with tiles along their edges and heavy Victorian and Edwardian style wooden furniture. This does not even begin to mention the fabulous amounts of Burmese lacquerware, the original Swedish enamelware, the Belgian glass, English crockery and cutlery, or the containers made locally of brass, bamboo, stone and wood. The antique shops of some of the better-known tourist destinations of the south were crammed with the loot from the homes of the Chettiars, long before it became fashionable to talk of the "Chettinad Style".

Chettiars History - Back to the Past

Your Nattukkotai Chettiars Holiday Tours starts from here, at some distant epoch of their history, the Nattukotai Chettiars were forced to flee from the area around Nagapattinam that was under a Chola king and seek the protection of the neighbouring Pandyan kingdom. You will get to know more about "Nattukkotai"- they are seen as town folk (those who live in country forts), the term that distinguished them from other Chettiars. This Chettiar community organised itself in small clusters. The Nattukkotai Chettiars were forced to leave the bleak countryside around Karaikudi and settle down as money lenders in distant places of the south. During these long periods of absence, it was the women who conducted the affairs of the family, living together under one roof, and yet managing their family units separately. It was probably their ability to travel that led the Chettiars to make the best use of the territories that opened up to them in the 19th century, as the British consolidated their grip in Southeast Asia. The Chettiars spread out in countries such as Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaya, Cambodia and Vietnam and even went west, towards some of the French colonies.

Chettinad Heritage Mansion - Country Forts

The Chettinad Mansion loom upon the landscape of the former Ramnad district, to the south west of Tanjore, like something out of a fairy tale. They are massive high walled heritage structures, often built in compact clusters, back to back, one house stretching all the way along the length of a street. One can stand at the front entrance of one of these mansions and look straight down the main axis, all the way to the back door that leads from the kitchen to the next street. It's only after reaching one of the terraces that one can see the neat progression of court-yards surrounded by covered verandas, cashed with their tiled and sloping roofs, intersected by the long communal halls that unfold ceremoniously, all the way. The doorways, or entrances to each of these areas are an important part of the Chettiar style. The front ones are the most imposing. The finest Burma teak, the richest satinwoods from Sri Lanka, black marble, and ebony have been used and also Tourits attraction of Nattukottai Forts

Chettinad Heritage Houses - Inside a Chettiar Home

As the Chettiars grew in wealth and stature, these areas, the front entrance and the formal public area, grew in size and opulence. English style furniture was introduced in the formal public area. When this was expanded into a main hall the ornamentation exceeded all imagination. these heritage house halls would have elaborately carved and painted ceilings, with an opulent chandelier hanging from the centre, the lower walls would be tiled with Japanese ceramics, and the upper edges decorated with a frieze of paintings that reflected images of the Sahibs and Ladies hunting, or of the newly introduced motor car and train, or voluptuous damsels lolling around on bolsters, in imitation of the sirens on cinema that was also to have a deep impact on the visual language of the time.

Chettinad Architecture Heritage Tours

Take a tour of these architectural splendrous, the social pattern is also reflected in the architecture of Chettinad mansions. Small strong rooms, with massive wooden doors are given to the different family members. Some of these rooms are extensively decorated with small glass baubles, like those used for Christmas trees, and with rows and rows of porcelain figurines.

Indeed the Chettiar ladies were probably collectors before their time. They seem to have had an innate faculty for arranging all their belonging whether in their puja rooms or in their storerooms, according to size and shape, and in descending order and importance, as if for display in a museum.