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IN/2010/CL/31

INDIAN HERITAGE PASSPORT PROGRAMME

ON THE CHETTINAD TRAIL IN TAMIL NADU

A Concept Paper

by UNESCO New Delhi Bernard Dragon, Architect Michel Adment, Architect

For The Government of Tamil Nadu, Department of Tourism & Culture

Foreword
Indias Unity in Diversity recounted through the wealth of its natural and cultural heritage, and their protection and enhancement through a concerted effort by government bodies and people at large, are the objectives of the India-UNESCO Heritage Passport Programme. Launched with the support of the Union Ministry of Tourism in September 2006, the Programme aims to promote heritage-based regional development through sustainable tourism along a historic itinerary linking several sites to recount the wealth of Indias lesser know destinations. Chettinad region, spreading over the districts of Sivagangai and Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu is becoming increasingly part of the popular tourist destination thanks to the magnificent Rajas palace in Kanadukathan, and palatial homes scattered across the towns and villages of the Region. However, beyond these iconic elements, what makes the charm of the towns and villages of Chettinad is perhaps the beauty of an overall village landscape created by the harmony of architectural elements and urban planning. Streets in grid pattern, the perfect alignment of houses against street axis, slope of the tiled roof and the height of the buildings.Even if the faades of the mansions bear witness of personal extravaganza of rich Chettiars families, the Chettinad villages stand out with their remarkable unity in architectural style that gives unique cultural and heritage identity to the Region. The present document prepared by the UNESCO expert team gives a meticulous listing of various aspects that constitute the overall cultural landscape of the Chettinad region in a hope to guide the work of the Government of Tamil Nadu in their future heritage-based tourism development. From a detail such as the style of beam and columns up to a larger issue such as street and settlement patterns and the protection of traditional water bodies, namely erys and ooranis, the study invites the government authorities to expand the scope of heritage management from a single monument to a regional perspective. The present study was undertaken as part of Revive Chettinad Heritage Campaign that UNESCO has initiated since 2007 with technical support from a Tamil Nadu-based French NGO, ArcHe-S, Anna University, Chennai, and French Ecole de Chaillot, and a generous financial and technical contribution of the Regional Council of Centre in France. The initiative was endorsed and supported by the Government of Tamil Nadu. The production of the publication was made possible thanks to the financial support of La Maison des Indes, a French travel agency specialized in India. I hope that this study will give a further insight to the Government of Tamil Nadu to guide its work of cultural tourism development. UNESCO New Delhi Culture Team

UNESCO Survey Team Members


Mr. Bernard Dragon, Architect Mr. Michel Adment, Architect Ms. Moe Chiba, Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO, New Delhi

Acknowledgements:
Ms. Leena Nandan, Jt Secretary Tourism, Govt. of India Honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture, Thiru Suresh Rajan, Govt. of TN Dr. Iraianbu, Secretary, Tourism and Culture to Govt. of Tamil Nadu Mr. M. N. Sanwat Ram, IAS, President, Tamil Nadu Tourism Corporation Dr. M. Rajaram, Tourism Commissioner, Tamil Nadu Tourism Corporation Mr. Pankaj Kumar Bansal, Deputy Director, Tamil Nadu Water & Drainage Board (TWAD) Mr. M.A. Siddique, Former District Collector, Sivagangai Mr. Darez Ahamed, Additional Collector, Krishnagiri Mr. Muthu Ramalingam, Chairman, Union Panchayat, Sakottai Mr. P.L. Gandi, Vice Chairman, Union Panchayat, Sakottai Mr. RM. N. Karuppaiah, Chairman, Town Panchayat, Kanadukathan Ms. Ranee Vedamuthu, Head of Dept. of Architecture, Anna University Mr. Paul Trouilloud & Mr Robert Dulau, La Cit de lArchitecture et du Patrimoine Ms. Meenakshi Meyyappan, President, Revive Chettinad Society Ms. Minja Yang, Director, UNESCO, New Delhi Ms. Nicole Bolomey, Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO New Delhi

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Table of Contents
Introduction............................................................7 - The Indian Heritage Passport Programme..........8 - Chettinad Tourism Today...................................9 - Heritage Oriented Development of the Chettinad Region.............................................11 Chettinad Heritage Region.....................................13 - Geography...........................................14 - A History..............................................16 - Unique Heritage Elements of Chettinad............21 - The Ambience of the Villages...........39 Regional Urban and Architectural Identity...............57 - Development of Planning................................59 - From the Street to the House...................60 - The Palatial Homes...............................62 - Architecture for Climate ......................64 - Space and Functions............................66 - Elements of Architecture.................................68

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Table of Contents
Opportunity for Heritage-Based Development..........77 - Different Possible Itineraries...................79 - Opportunities for Tourism Development........82 - Challenges to the Development of Tourism....84 Looking to the Future............................89 - Make Chettinad a Destination.......................90 - Guiding Principles..............................92 - Action Plan / Revive Chettinad Project........94 - Chettinad Heritage House.............................96 - Creation of a Heritage Centre........................98 - Elaboration of a Protection & Development Plan.......................................100 - The Ecomuseum......................................102 - The Centre for International Exchange.........105 - The Centre for Training and Production of Handicrafts and Applied Arts...........105 Credit..............................................106

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Introduction

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

The Indian Heritage Passport Programme


Uses Heritage-based tourism as a vehicle for local development Expands the cultural value of Heritage sites and extends tourism to lesser known sites Develops a regional Heritage-based tourism beyond individual monuments Requires the identification of structures, landscape elements and cultural practices Mobilizing all available cultural resources to provide tourists with diverse experiences Ensuring a conservation stake for local communities and local economic development Integrates: Core historic centre Historic structures Settlement features and natural environment Intangible cultural practices

Includes the identification and promotion of Intangible Heritage such as: Traditional skills for buildings and architecture Crafts including wood carving, metal work and textiles Festivals Performing arts Cuisine Brings together, state government, the private sector, NGOs, local artists and crafts people to support Heritage-based tourism.

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Chettinad Tourism Today


Only a few tour operators offer a Tamil Nadu/Kerala trip from Chennai to Kochi, taking a route through the major Dravidian temples such as Thanjavor, Tiruchirapalli and Madurai. Chettinad is included in some of these itineraries, which usually consist of one to two day trips.
Number of visitors per year : Total Foreign

Tiruchirapally : Thanjavor : Madurai : Rameswaram : Sivagangai D. :

20,0 Lakh; 11,0 Lakh; 41,0 Lakh; 24,0 Lakh; 2,7 Lakh;

81,600 42 700 1 Lakh 7,850 25,000

Data from Tamil Nadu Tourism Corporation 2006

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Travel to Chettinad Today


1 Day trip:
Thanjavor in the morning; Visit to the Palace of the Chettinad Rajas in Kanadukathan, Lunch in Karaikkudi, Karaikkudi/Madurai in the afternoon

2 Day trip:
Day 1: Thanjavur/Karaikkudi, Chettinad Rajas Palace in Kanadukathan; Houses in Kanadukathan and Pallathur. Day 2: Weavers in Karaikkudi; Tiles factory in Athangudi; Neman temple Lunch in Karaikkudi Chettinad/Madurai

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Heritage Oriented Development of the Chettinad Region


The region identified for the Chettinad Heritage Trail in Tamil Nadu consists of a territory of 1,550 square kilometers in the heart of the state, comprising two towns and 73 villages and spread over the districts of Sivagangai and Pudukottai. The main towns and villages included in the trail are Karaikkudi, Devakottai, Pallathur, Kottaiyur, Kanadukathan, Kandanur, Kothamangalam, Rayavaram, Athangudi, Kadiyapatti and the Chettinad Train Station heritage buildings. The trail will also cover the clan temples, and sacred groves such as Kottadi or Vettangudi and special features of heritage landscape. The Indian Heritage Passport Programme will involve: Identifying, safeguarding, enriching and managing the heritage resources of the region; Outlining a vision for heritage based development in the region; Improving economic opportunities and infrastructure for local communities; Promoting responsible cultural tourism as a way of sustaining heritage resources; Developing innovative tourism-related activities and improving core and soft support and infrastructure; Developing a framework for tourism oriented investment opportunities in the region; Encouraging local level entrepreneurship and public participation in conservation management and development of heritage resources.
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Proposed strategy to connect the Chettinad region to the major sites in Tamil Nadu

Proposed Heritage itineraries for the Chettinad region

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Chettinad Heritage Region

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Geography
Location Map of the Chettinad Region in Tamil Nadu The region of Chettinad is located in the southern part of the State of Tamil Nadu (South India), with Chennai (Madras) as capital. The main town of the region is Karaikkudi, which is 400 km from Chennai and 90 km from the major sites of the state, such as Thanjavor (WHS, UNESCO), Tiruchirapalli and Madurai. Chettinad is located in an area Northeast of Madurai, North of the River Vaigai and South of the River Vellar, on a semi-arid plain of 1,550 square kilometers in the heart of Tamil Nadu-South India. It is inhabited by 110,000 Chettiars who are spread over two cities and 73 villages. The Chettinad region receives two monsoons: The South West Monsoon from July to mid September brings an average of 100ml of rain water at its peak period. The North East Monsoon from October to December brings heavier rains with an average of 180 ml. The region of Chettinad is home to some of the most interesting water management systems and drainage patterns. Water management was devised by Chettiars to control the flow of water which was entirely dependent on rain water resources.
Capital of TN: Chennai, 450 km ; International airport: Tiruchirapalli, 90 km; National airport: Madurai, 90 km; Main town: Karaikkudi, Train Station Main tourism area: Kanadukathan, Historical Chettinad train station Coordinates: 1010N, 7846E 14 Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Chettinad Heritage Region

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Chettinad Heritage Region


A History
There is no scientific and historical proof of the Chettiars origin. However, few legends are being told and some resources give elements and evidences about their origin: 1- The Chettiar Heritage (2000), S.Muthiah, M. Meiyappan, V. Ramasamy The Chettiar Heritage Publishers S.Muthiah, M. Meiyappan and V. Ramasamy are part of some key families of Chettiar community and militate for the preservation of their culture. [] The Chettiar settled most probably in the middle of the 19th century. According to the legend, they were originally from the village of Poombukar (old Kaveripattinam) near Tanjore, in a coastal area. After a devastating tsunami, they started looking for a dry area, so they settled in Chettinad. The fact that the houses are set back with steps is supposed to show their fear of having another tsunami. [] In the Pandyanadu, the Chettiars settled in 4 villages around the temple in Ilayathangudi (25 km from Karaikuddi). As the communities grew in number they came to be known as the Natukottai Chettiars who established new settlements. They also began to seek and grant new temples which are in nine clan temples existing today. As result, the nine clans became a focal point located right at the centre of Chettinad. [] From the middle of the 19th century, the sense of commerce of the Chettiars has led to a prosper period during which they contributed to the development of Chettinad. Since Chettiars main occupation was trading, they travelled all over the world. [] After the independence, the ninety six villages shrunk to seventy five. The most likely reason would be the migration to villages much closer to the faster developing villages. Today, we can see in Chettinad a glance of its prosper period, through the houses. They contain precious jewels and crafts from all the world.
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2- David West Rudner (1987), Religious gifting and Inland commerce in seventeenth century South India, Journal of Asian studies, Vol. 46, n2 David West Rudners anthropologic study is based, in part, on field research carried out in Tamil Nadu from October 1979 to November 1981. [] Vital component in the south Indian economy, they represent the major banking caste of South India during the period of 1870 to 1930: a corporate organization of men and families that has been crucial to processes of capital accumulation, distribution and investment. [] The Nakarattar caste numbered perhaps ten thousand in 1896, forty thousand in 1920, by 1980 approximately one hundred thousand people. Their lifestyle combined qualities common to settled agriculturalists, urban industrialists and itinerant merchants. Although it is possible to trace many Nakarattar commercial practices back to the Chola period, the caste itself does not appear in the historical record until the 17th century, when they were involved primarily in small scale, itinerant salt trading activities in the interior regions of Tamil Nadu. By the 18th century, some individuals had extended their business operations as far south as the pearl, rice, cloth, and arrack trade of Ceylon. As in the case of other mercantile groups, trade was inseparable from money lending and other credit-extending operations. By the 19th and early 20th centuries, Nakarattars were the major sources of finance for myriad agrarian transactions between Burma, Ceylon, Malaya, and the Madras presidency. They dominated the role of mercantile intermediary between the British rulers and local populations by monopolizing important components of the credit, banking, and agrarian systems of Southeast Asia and by remitting huge amounts of capital from Southeast Asia back to their south Indian homeland for industrial investment and large scale philanthropy. During the 20th century, the Nakarattar business environment was altered in crucial ways by the development of nationalistic movements in Southeast Asian countries, by the general growth of legislation restricting indigeneous forms of banking and by the increase in industrial opportunities within India for non British businessmen. The consequences were significant. The caste organization of the Nakarattars began to unravel in the face of multi governmental interference with traditional banking practices. Non elite Nakarattars, perhaps 80 to 90 percent of the caste, were forced to scramble for new employment opportunities. []
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Chettinad Heritage Region


A History
Migration Map of the Chettiars 3- Edgar Thurston (1909), Nattukottai Chetti, Castes and Tribes of South India, Government Press Madras Edgar Thurston was a British museologist and ethnographer working in colonial Southern India. Superintendent of the Government Museum. He wrote the seven volumes of Castes and Tribes of Southern India; a standard reference on the subject. They were wealthy money lenders with head quarters in the Tirupattur and Devakottai divisions of the Sivaganga and Ramnad zamindaris in the Madura district. It is stated in the Madura manual (1901) The word Nattukottai is said to be a corruption of Nattarasankottai, the name of a small village near Sivaganga. But this derivation appears to be doubtful. The name is usually said to be derived from Nattukottai, or country fort. It has been said that the Nattukottai Chettis, in organization, co-operation and business methods, are as remarkable as the European merchants. [] By a traditional custom, the Nattukottai Chettis live largely by money lending. They either trade in their own account, or are employed as agents or assistants. [] As concerning the origin of the Natukottai Chettis, the following story is told. In ancient days, the Vaisyas were living in the town of Santhyapuri in the Naganadu of the Jambudvipa. They were much oppressed by a certain ruler and emigrated in a body to Conjeeveram in the Tondamandalam country in the year 204 of the Kaliyuga. The king of Conjeevaram gave them the permission to settle in his territory, and made grants to them a land, temples and matams. They stayed here for a very long time but, being troubled by heavy taxes and fines, left this part of the country about 2312 Kaliyuga, and settled in the Chola country.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

About 3775 Kaliyuga, Puvandi Chola Raja imprisoned several of the Vaisya women, whereon all the 8000 Vaisya families destroyed themselves, leaving their male children to be taken care of by a religious teacher named Atmanadhachariar. The king accordingly made them marry Vellala girls. About 3808, a Pandya king, named Sundara Pandya, is said to have asked the Chola king to induce some of the Vaisyas to settle down in the Pandya territory. They accordingly once more emigrated and reached the village of Onkarakudi. The Chettis became divided into three sections, of which the Ilayaththukudi and Sundarapattanam are found at the present day at the Madura district. The members of the Ilayaththukudi section became the Nattukottais. They, not satisfied with only one place of worship, requested the king to give them more temples. Accordingly, temples were provided for different groups at Maththur, Vairavanpatti, Iraniyur, Pillayarpatt, Nemam, Illupaikudi, Suraikudi, and Velangkudi. [] According to a variant of the story relating to the origin of the Nattukottai Chettis, they were formerly merchants at the court of the Chola kings who ruled at Kaveripattanam, at one time flourishing sea-port at the mouth of the Cauveri, from which they emigrated in a body on being persecuted by one of them, and first settled at Nattarasankottai, about three miles north east of Sivaganga. By other castes, the Nattukotai Chettis are said to be the descendants of the offspring of unions between a Shanan and a Muhammadan and Uppu Korava women.
CHETTIAR COUNTERS IN ASIA IN 1900 EMPIRES IN ASIA AT EARLY 20th CENTURY British possessions Other empires Russian possessions French possessions Dutch possessions Major cities Chettinad region Main Chettiar Counters in Asia

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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4- The Origin of the Nattukottaiyars and their Communal practices, Tamil manuscript from mid-19th, Translation (2004) M. Gobalakichenane, East West Books Madras It is a mid-19th century manuscript unearthed in the Bibliothque Nationale, Paris and is part of the collection of Edouard Ariel, a indologist who live in Tamil Nadu from 1818 to 1854. It constitutes an important testimony in Tamil cultural history. Mr M. Gopalakichnane, is an engineer hailing from Pondicherry and settled in France. Their village number is 96 within a square area of 4 kathams. The main town where they live is Devakottai. In olden days Kaveripattinam was the capital of the Chola king. During his reign, the prosperous Vellalars of his country assumed the name of Chettis. [] The prince found out that the above mentioned Chettis were as rich as the king and their abodes were as large as the kings palace. He proclaimed that they should seek his audience by entering a place with seven small entrances. They did so, thus showing no courtesy to the prince seated, showing their backside to him. Fearing punishment for this act of discourtesy, those Chettis set fire to their lodgings and many perished in the fire. 1011 young sons of those perished in the fire took refuge with their Brahmin tutors. [] The Pandya king who was then ruling Madurai in the south was for a long time concerned that there were no Chettis in his kingdom. Hearing about this, the Brahmin who was the guardian of the above mentioned boys brought them to the king who rejoiced and asked them to colonize as much land as they wanted South of the Vegai and North of the Velar. Thus they settled first in the village of Devakottai of the kings territory. Since no women accompanied those young men, the latter married women from the Kallar, Maravar, Sanar, Agamudiyar and Oddar communities. [] Just like the Vellalars of Kaveripattinam who never bowed their head, the Illayathankudiyars called Nattukkottaiyars also do not pay obeisance by joining hands or bowing head to any one of authority. Therefore, even if they cannot be considered as true Vellalars, they should also be termed as other numerous subgroups inside the Vellalars, as a type of subgroup. [] The Ilayathankudiyars, whose origin is ignored are sometimes unjustly referred to as Sanars. The above mentioned Ilayathabkudiyar including those inland and those who have travelled abroad on business and the women number about 50 000. In their homeland, they are agriculturists and traders. Abroad they are only merchants. [] Forty years ago, the above mentioned community was very poor. In the past few years since they have acquired wealth, they have attained prominence troughout the world because of their overseas trading. [] Year 1847"
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Chettinad Heritage Region


Unique Heritage Elements of Chettinad

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Unique Heritage Elements of Chettinad
The Palatial Homes

Rajas Palace in Kanadukathan

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Reception hall in Karaikkudi

Courtyard at the Rajas Palace

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Unique Heritage Elements of Chettinad
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 its own committee.

Velangudi Clan Temple

Map showing the sub chettiar areas with the clan temples.
Map from S. Muthiah

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

The 9 Clan Temples are: Illayathakudi Mattur Vairavan Iraniyur Pillaiyarpatti Nemam Illupaikudi Soraikudi Vellankudi
Nemam Clan Temple

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Unique Heritage Elements of Chettinad
Ooranis

Matta Oorani in Kanadukathan

Oorani in Koviloor

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Oorani is a Tamil word for the surface water storage tank located in the villages and towns. In Chettinad, each village comprises a minimum of three water bodies in accordance with the storage needs of the villagers for drinking and bathing. The roofs typical of Chettinad architecture are designed to harvest water in the courtyards and then divert to the various different ponds through a water drainage network.

Laterite steps in Puduvayal

Oorani, Shivan Temple in Kothamangalam

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Unique Heritage Elements of Chettinad
Erys

Ery between Kanadukathan and Kothamangalam

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Erys
Erys are the traditional surface water storage reservoirs found in Tamil Nadu. Organized into a huge network over the ages, they have played a very important role for the ecosystem and for irrigation in areas with low-rainfall, such as Chettinad. Due to this climatic constraint, since settling in the region, the Chettiars have been particularly involved in sustainable water management for agriculture and therefore in shaping the landscape.

Ery near Kanadukathan

Below the ery rice fields near Kanadukathan

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Unique Heritage Elements of Chettinad
Ayyanar Temple

Terracotta figures in the Ayyanar shrine at Kotadi and Kothamangalam in the district of Sivagangai

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Ayannar is the Tamil God of everything: rain maker, god of the children, cattle, villages, earth, nature and villagers. He is present in rural areas. 60 places of worship are estimated in the region. The specificity is that he is not always in the temples and is covered with offerings in terra-cotta. The season of offerings is between April and September and the ritual duration is maximum 3 days. Although his army is represented, Ayyannar is seldom shown. Karapu is his right-hand man and leads the battles. The decision of the daytime festival is made by a committee of poojaris comprising of wise men (elders), astrologers and potters (Vellars). Everybody meets to decide on the day almost one month before the day of the offering. The potters are very important in the Ayannar sites as they are considered to convey the desire of the man towards God. The problem today, is to ensure the transfer of know-how of potters which is supposed to be hereditary in certain villages. There are less and less potters and many of them come from other areas. The priest of the temple place gives the first order. The terra cotta figures are offered by the villagers to Ayyannar. Villagers can also order terra cotta guard, dogs, snakes for the protection of all the animals of the village. During the rituals, the figures are brought into the temple. A spot of blood of hen is then applied between the eyes, thus giving life to the figures.

Ayyanars Horse near Karaikkudi

Protector Daemon near Karaikkudi

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Unique Heritage Elements of Chettinad
Chettinad Train Station

The plaza in front of the Chettinad Train Station

Rajas Guest House at the Chettinad Train Station

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

The Chettinad train station is the historic gateway to the region. It is part of a well planned area which connects the core of Kanadukathan (with its Rajas palace) to the shivan temple, the Rajas Island, the cotton mills and the train station. Recently the station has been transferred to a new building. The surviving 1920s train station and the Rajas Guest house, organized around a plaza with the pleasant shade of trees form part of the Chettinad heritage area.

Chettinad Train station: Rajas Guest house

Chettinad Train station: Station Master

Chettinad Train station: Rajas Guest house

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Unique Heritage Elements of Chettinad
The Art Deco Style
The Chettinad region comprises a great number of striking Art Deco style houses (also called French Art Deco). Largely built in the 1940/ 1950s, 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. Karaikkudi has an important Art-Deco quarter, which includes the Thousand Windows House making it ideal for heritage walks.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Karaikkudi

Art Deco front elevation of the Twin House in Kanadukathan

Rayavaram

Art Deco house in Kothamangalam

Art Deco house in Kanadukathan

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Unique Heritage Elements of Chettinad
Living Heritage: The Skills

Chariot makers

Metal work

Wood work

Athangudi tiles

Kotan

Jewelry

Cotton weaving

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Living Heritage: The Traditions and the Living Arts

Art of Kolam

Puja at Pongal function

Chettinad cuisine

Barathanattyam performance

Village festival: Ayyanar procession

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Unique Heritage Elements of Chettinad
Natural Heritage: Sacred Woods

Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary

Kandanur Ayyanar shrine in a sacred grove

Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary

Small shrine with sacred wood near Kandanur

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Chettinad Heritage Region


The Ambience of the Villages

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


The Ambience of Karaikkudi
Karaikkudi is the economic heart of Chettinad situated in the district of Sivagangai. Despite land speculation and the economic pressure on real estate, one can still see distinct Chettiar areas across the town which still contain a variety of the styles of houses. Chettinad is one of the only remaining sites in the state which bears testimony to Tamil architecture and urban planning.

The Bazar and the Chandy market

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Chettinad Heritage Region


The Ambience of Karaikkudi

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


The Ambience of Kanadukathan

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Typical house with an important palatial faade

Rajas Palace: Abundance of decorative elements

Kanadukathan is the heart of the current tourism trail in Chettinad situated in the district of Sivagangai, comprising around 5000 inhabitants. It is the village where the palace of the Rajas and two of the mansions converted into heritage hotels are located. Visitors can appreciate the peaceful ambience of the large streets of the village set in a semiurban context. Some new hotels are also coming up and will open soon.

Large Shape of the Raja Street

Peaceful street with important set back of the houses

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Ambience in Pallathur
Pallathur, also situated in the district of Sivagangai, is an important Chettiar village of more than 10,000 Inhabitants located near Kanadukathan. Its regular North/South urban grid pattern was established by the community at the Zenith of their economic prosperity at the end of 19th century. The abundance of Chettiar House seen from a North/South Street decorative elements on the facades demonstrates the opulence of the community at that time.

North/South Street with entrances and faade

North/South and East/West Cross Street in the Chettiar Quarter

East/West Cross Street in the Chettiar Quarter

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Details of faade showing four layers of balustrade and five cornices

Details of window with stucco ornaments such as columns, Yalli and flora

Detail of pilaster topped by stucco capital and cornice

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Ambience in Kottaiyur
Kottaiyur is a large village of 10 000 inhabitants located 6 km from the main town of Karaikkudi. The rapid development of the economic heart of the region has blurred the distinct boundaries between Kottaiyur and Karaikkudi. As a result, Kottaiyur is exposed to economic pressure from its neighbour. Huge mansions still remain in the village despite this pressure, however. A small private museum of chettiar life-style is under preparation.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Outstanding 3 Storey House opposite the Shiva Temple on Puduvayal road

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Ambience in Kandanur
Kandanur is a village of 3, 500 inhabitants located 6 km from the main town of Karaikkudi on the road to Puduvayal and Sakkottai. The village administration is also running the non Chettiar adjacent village of Palaiyur as well as the small Chettiar village of Alagapuri. These three villages form a single urban area. The core historical area of Kandanur is comprising important 1900s and later Chettiar houses while the 1870/80s houses of Alagapuri are smaller in scale but very richly decorated.

1900s Chettiar Mansion in the core historical area: Important setback of the main building with front gardens on each side of the entrance arch

Other 1900s Chettiar Mansion in the core historical area: Important entrance arch on the alignment of the street; small setback of the main building

40s Chettiar Bungalow showing a variety of influence in the elements of architecture

Other 40s Chettiar Bungalow with Mogul, Gothic and Art Deco style of architecture

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Narrow Chettiar street with monumental entrance arches and small setback

Important mansions along the Raja Street, punctuated by their monumental arches and topped by canopies

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Ambience in Kothamangalam
Kothamangalam is a peaceful village of 3, 300 inhabitants located at the Northern border of Sivagangai district and 4 km from Kanadukathan, and Pallathur. Even though many homes in the village have disappeared, it remains a living place where a number of great mansions still exist displaying the splendour of their facades and the typical alignment of their high compound walls marked by series of important entrance porches. Most of them were built between 1900 and 40. The small village of K. Lakshmipura is also part of Kothamangalam village Panchayat but few of the huge mansions remain.

Main Street with its alignment of high compound walls marked by a series of impressive porches

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Shape of cornice showing the different spaces of the building

A 40 House showing different architectural influences

Alignment of high compound walls marked by important porches

Art Deco House on the Main Street

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Ambience in Rayavaram
Rayavaram is a large village of 5000 inhabitants situated in the district of Pudukottai. It is located 6 km from Kothamangalam and is also well connected to Kadiyapatti and Thirumayam Fort on Trichy road. Rayavaram is well endowed with historic Chettinad homes in four distinct zones around shivan temple. They represent over 150 years of domestic architecture.

Large Chettiar Mansion in the Pudu Quarter, south of Shivan Temple

Series of Mansions in a narrow street of the old Chettiar Quarter

Series of Mansions in a large street of the new Chettiar Quarter

Impressive Mansions in the new Chettiar Quarter

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Series of Mansions of different inspirations located in some large streets of the new Quarter, south of Shiva Temple

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Chettinad Heritage Region


Ambience in Kadiyapatti
Also situated in the district of Pudukottai, Kadiyapatti is located 4 km from Rayavaram and 5 km from Kothamangalam and is very well connected to Thirumayam Fort. Kadiyapatti has very unique, large and magnificent mansions embellished with a vast number of architectural features such as towers, domes, arches, cornices, parapets, balcony, important porches,terracotta figures, balustrades and pedestal urns. The valuable heritage of the village is however slowly disappearing falling prey to uncontrolled trade in antiques, facilitated by the relative isolation of the village from the main road.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Series of balustrades, cornices towers and domes

Terracotta and stucco ornaments

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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A Tower of Mogul influence topped by a dome

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Regional Urban and Architectural Identity

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Regional Urban and Architectural Identity


Urban Development: From Free Pattern to Urban Grid
As a result of their travels, the Chettiars have integrated diverse influences into their traditions which have contributed to their uniqueness. Their villages were constructed following precise and sophisticated rules of urban planning (orthogonal streets, specific water management schemes, technical innovation, artistic creativity, etc.). These settlements are also built in harmony with Tamil traditions: rectangular plots, houses with an inner courtyard (often with around 3 or 4 courtyards).

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Development of Planning

Over the course of time, the settlement of the village of Kanadukathan has evolved into a perfect urban grid pattern. The Chettiars also had a vision of planning which aimed at connecting the Chettinad train station, the airport, the Shiva temple and the Rajas Island to the core of the village with the palace of the Raja.

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Regional Urban and Architectural Identity


From the Street to the House
The compound wall is a specific feature which is particular to the urban landscape of the Chettinad villages. A peripheral wall runs around each property containing the house and outhouses. On the street sides, the wall is aligned with the street axis, running from the North to South with important arches/doors facing one each other on an East to West axis. These arches serve as the main gates of the properties and are a demonstrable symbol of wealth. The compound wall provides an overall coherence with the different villages of the region. Inside the compound the building and its facade are set back on a common alignment with the other buildings of the street. The space between the entrance gate and the facade wall is primarily for visitors who can sit in the outdoor tinnai. The height of the building never exceeds 2 levels, the ground floor and a first floor.

Maximum height of the buildings: Ground floor + 1

Compound walls elevation, CVCT Street in the village of Kanadukathan Maximum height of compound walls : 2 meters

Street elevation, CVCT Street in the village of Kanadukathan

Compound walls alignment Plan showing the alignment of the buildings and compound walls in CVCT Street in the village of Kanadukathan

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Faades

On the ground floor, the architecture is typically Tamil, with the outdoor tinnai and inner tinnai (pattalea), the central courtyard (nadu veassel) with its puja rooms (rettai vidu) on each side. However one can also see Western influences on the front faade and higher floors, with features of classical architecture, such as a series of colonnades, cornices, multi-level balustrades, parapets and symmetrical organization following the classical genre.

Front faade, CV House in the village of Kanadukathan

Front faade, Mutiah House in the village of Kanadukathan

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Regional Urban and Architectural Identity


The Palatial Homes
These 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 also 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 only added to the cultural glory of Chettinad.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Many of these houses have evolved over nearly two centuries and are veritable palaces. Constructed on mounds, they feature verandas, reception halls and court rooms situated along a longitudinal axis. This organization mirrors the structure of the society and the rules of the community.

Axonometric projection of a palatial Chettiar house Outdoor tinnai, Inner tinnai, Main Reception Hall, Main Courtyard, Dining Room, Wedding Hall, Womens Courtyard, Kitchen and Servant Courtyard

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Regional Urban and Architectural Identity


Architecture for Climate
Due to their settlement in a hot and semi arid region the Chettiars have taken their climate into consideration in the design of their homes and the materials used. The houses are built around an East/West central courtyard which brings shadows, light, coolness and air and the materials used for the construction such as bricks for the walls, lime plasters, terracotta tiles roofing, marbles and stones floors are essential component. The slopes of the roofs are important and allow the collection of rain water during the monsoon season. Drainage feeds the water from the courtyard ponds into storage tanks.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

The rain water is collected from the central courtyard and diverted to storage water tanks

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Regional Urban and Architectural Identity


Space and Function
A. Visitors-Guests-Chettiars 3- Entrance 4- Outdoor tinnai B. Men - Business 5- Inner tinnai Main Hall 6- Main Courtyard 12- Puja Rooms C. Women - Chettiars 12- Puja Rooms 13- Storage Rooms 14- Womens Courtyard D. Servants - Service 15/16- Kitchen Courtyard Backyard Garden

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Family System

3-Entrance

4-Outdoor tinnai Visitors-Guest-Chettiars

14-Womens Courtyard

15-Kitchen Courtyard

5-Inner tinnai

6-Main Courtyard Men-Business

14-Womens Courtyard Women-Chettiars

15-Kitchen Courtyard Servants-Quarters

Nagarathrars was an undivided joint family (valavu) containing several co resident hearth-holds orconjugal families (pullis) and extending to three or four generations under direction of the oldest active male. The pulli was the basic reproductive and daily consumptive unit of the Nakarattar caste. It normally comprised a married man, his wife, their children, and other dependents. The term valavu literally denotes the architectural portion of a Nakarattar house, consisting of a central courtyard and the surrounding ring of rooms housing each of the resident pullis. Corridor surrounding the valavu lead to arais (rooms) one or two in number one within the other called ul-arai and veli-arai which was used by the pullis who shared the family business for their private use and their personal storage. Each pulli had its own living quarters and cooking hearth There are many a times more than one kitchen, one for each pulli (married couple). K. Sasidhar, Dr. R. Vedamuthu, An Anthrop Arch Approach to the Study of the Contemporary Chettiar Dwelling of Tamilnadu, India Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu 67

Regional Urban and Architectural Identity


Elements of Architecture
Roofscape
As seen previously, Chettinad roofs have great importance as a tool for collecting rain water and for air cooling. The repetition of rectangular plots, positioned in accordance with the major axes East/West and North/South, the organization of the houses in successive courtyards and the hierarchy of the pavilions with sloping and terrace roofs has created a specific roofscape, unique to Chettinad.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Regional Urban and Architectural Identity


Elements of Architecture
Arches and Porches
The rural landscape of the Chettinad region is marked by a series of elegant arches on the main roads that go around the villages. Further, each house has an imposing entrance porch at the level of compound wall showcasing the wealth and the social status of the owner. These richly decorated porches showing influence from various architectural styles are the essence of Chettinad heritage identity.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Regional Urban and Architectural Identity


Elements of Architecture
Columns
Two main types of column are specific to Chettiar houses: The wooden columns are mainly used for inside areas and stone pilars for the courtyards (main or kitchen). In a later period, granite pillars were used in the outdoor tinnai. The elegance of the shaped wooden columns is very typical of Chettinad.

Entrance

tinnai

Main courtyard

Back side main courtyard

Kitchen courtyard

Typical section with location of typologies of columns

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Concrete Figures
Every house is embellished with concrete figures. Front faades were subject to particular attention and one can see different themes of inspiration: Deities, such as Gajalaxmi, Lord Shiva or Lord Krishna; kings and queens, rajas and ranis, British soldiers, hunters, or allegorical representations of fauna and floral

Raja and Rani

Ornamental elements

Hunter and his prey

Dieties: Laxmi and Lord Krishna

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Regional Urban and Architectural Identity


Elements of Architecture
Balustrades Parapets and Cornices
Balustrades, parapets and cornices are very much part of the architectural identity of the region. The stucco cornices create elegant lines around the walls which follow the different levels and pavilions of the house. Different layers of balustrades and parapets increase the grandeur of these huge mansions, giving them a palatial dimension. These particular elements of architecture are mostly made of Chettinad plaster with delicate combinations of natural colours.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Wooden Carving Features


The Chettiars used to bring teak from Burma back to their country (nadu) during their economic expansion in eastern Asia. Before the use of modern materials such as iron in construction, the structures of their homes were made from bricks, stone pillars and teak wood beams. The flare of the columns were shaped with pure lines. They brought and developed skills such as wood carving. Tops of pillars, door frames, door and window imposts and ceilings were delicately carved with great inspiration: Goddesses, Yallis, flora and fauna and geometry are present in every element. Chettinad therefore, became a centre of excellence in wood carving skills during the communitys most affluent period.

Above: Imposts wood work carving Left: Main door from 1870s Below: Sophisticate wooden top column

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Regional Urban and Architectural Identity


Elements of Architecture
Stuccos and Wall Paintings
Chettinad plaster is very famous for its soft texture and appearance while being quite firm. It has endured through years and centuries. This particular material is made of sea shell lime and eggs. It is the last stage in a long process of wall finishing. The bricks are coated with different layers of white lime mortars, then finished with lime plaster. The Chettinad plaster is the last layer which gives both softness and hardness as well as brightness and coolness to the walls. The art of painting frescoes onto these plaster walls has also been developed across the region. Paintings on door or window transom, friezes along the cornices and so on, combine both aesthetic and spiritual sensibilities.
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Opportunity for Heritage-Based Development

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Opportunity for Heritage-Based Development


Cultural Tourism:
At present, the Chettinad region is practically unknown to tourist guides. To date, only a few tour operators have included the visit to the Rajas Palace (with lunch in an old bungalow that has been converted into a charming guest house) in their programme. The fact that this region has been excluded from traditional tourist itineraries is all the more surprising as South India is very rich in temple architecture (Dravidian temples) but poor in domestic architecture and palaces. By including this Chettinad region, tourists will gain a considerably more complete picture of another way of life in South India. A major objective of the project is to promote cultural pursuits that are off the beaten track to Indian tourists and international visitors. The early signs of tourism development can already be seen. Two guest rooms have been created in mansions. The Kerala hotel chain, CG Earth has restored an Art Deco palace. The Neemrana hotels group, managed by experts in the field of transforming heritage buildings into hotels, is studying the possibility of setting up a small establishment. The Sangam Group and some other individuals have already started converting heritage buildings into hotels. Alternative initiatives such as Bed and Breakfast could be undertaken by home owners with the help of the experts to convert some of their rooms and other premises into guest accommodation of an international standard. Bio solutions for sustainable resources, such as water treatment and solid waste treatment, for example, must be considered when developing tourism in a fragile rural context. These matters must be subject to a protection plan and can then be included into the future development programme and master plan.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Different Possible Itineraries

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Different Possible Itineraries


Development of a Heritage-based Itinerary:
1 day tour : A General Overview / Tour of the Region: Karaikkudi, Pallathur, Kotadi Ayyanar Temple, Kanadukathan, Athangudi tiles, Neman Temple. 2/6 day tour : Architectural and Urban Trail, 1day : Karaikkudi, Kottaiyur and its Chettinad Heritage House, Pallathur, Kanadukathan and the Rajas palace, Kothamangam, Rayavaram, Kadiyapatti. Village heritage walks including a visit to a number of private homes. Country Planning Trail, day : Rajas Palace, Chettinad Train Station restored as an interpretation centre, Rajas Island, Shivan Temple, Cotton Mills, Pallathur Road. Temple Trail, 1day : Clan temples: Pillaiyarpatti, Neman, Vairavan, Vellangudi; Village temples: Koviloor, Athangudi, Kudrakundi; Ayyanar temples: Kotadi, Karaikkudi, Vettankudi.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Handicraft Trail, 1 day: Metal work in Pallathur; wood work; chariot makers and handloom weaving in Karaikkudi; Concrete tiles in Athangudi; Kotans near Pillaiyarpatti; Kollam workshop in a variety of villages. Cuisine Training, 1 day: A Chettinad cuisine experience could be offered to the visitors in hotels and restaurants, or as a participative experience with local residents. A visit to the weekly Chandy market could be the introduction to the experience. Sea shore Trail, 1 day: Chettinad is located 40 Km from the seaside. Mimisal is a nice end destination to a route which crosses verdant countryside. It also provides an opportunity to visit the village potters who make beautiful horse, cow or elephant figures, offered to the local deity of Ayyanar during the Tamil New Year festivities. Avudaiyarkovil Temple is one of the most interesting temples under Chettiar influence in southern Tamil Nadu with very unique stone carving over the shrine. Nature Trail day: Bird watching nearby traditional water systems (erys) and in rice fields. Visit to Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary and its sacred wood. Art Deco Trail 1 day: Walk around the important 1920-40s area of Karaikkudi with a visit to the 1000 Windows House. Other villages such as Kanadukathan, Kothamangalam or Rayavaram contain examples of Art Deco architectural heritage which would be interesting for tourists.

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Opportunities for Tourism Development


A Central Location in Southern Tamil Nadu Chettinad today is a peaceful place to stay and many visitors would appreciate the opportunity to discover some of southern Tamil Nadus major sites which are dotted around the region. Daily tours could start from Chettinad, visiting town temples such as Madurai, Tiruchirapalli and Thanjavor which are within 80/90 km of Chettind or 120 km in the case of Rameswaram. Visitors could then extend their stay in the region for a different experience of the Tamil region. The New Railway Line from Chennai to Rameswaram : The new railway line was launched in August 2008, connecting Chennai to Rameswaram, with stops in Karaikkudi and Chettinads heritage train station. Two overnight trains are currently in service. The Improvement of the Major Roads : The improved network of highways and major roads in Tamil Nadu will improve the accessibility of the region and can facilitate and increase tourism-based development in the region. Well Connected by Air with two Airports only 90 Km from the Region : Madurai is a national airport with daily connections to Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai. Tiruchirapalli is an international airport which connects South India to Sri Lanka, but also to Chennai. Both Madurai and Tiruchirapalli are 2 hours drive from Karaikkudi. Well Preserved Region : There is an increasing awareness in the media of the future potential of Chettinad as an attraction to visitors, and it is attracting those who are keen to have an off-the-beaten track experience. The time has come to prepare for the arrival of these enthusiasts; people who are looking for hidden treasures and an authentic shared experience. Chettinad is a real treasure trove of authentic and well preserved urban architecture, and of ecological riches.
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Re-use of Palatial Homes : Many of the Chettinad mansions could easily be converted into heritage hotels with moderate alterations or appropriate extensions. Owners could also begin to improve parts of their homes in order to develop sustainable tourism. A Large Geo-Cultural Territory : Chettinad is a large geo-cultural region with 73 villages spread over 1500 Km2. Even if the process to protect and monitor the development of the entire area is a long one, the fact remains that this unique and varied heritage has to be explored. Inclusion into the 2008 Watch List of the World Monuments Fund: The NGO ArcHe-S has proposed Chettinad for inclusion into the 2008 Watch List of the WMF, with the endorsement of UNESCO New Delhi. Chettinad was included in the list in June 2007. ArcHe-S will submit Chettinad for the 2010 Watch List in order to promote awareness of its potential for sustainable heritage-based development.

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Challenges to the Development of Tourism


Growth without Planning and Stakeholder Partnerships
Threats and Challenges Economic pressures and land speculation in the big cities of Tamil Nadu have eliminated almost all of the states traditional houses. Chettinad is the only remaining site which bears testimony to Tamil architecture and urban planning. Massive Desertion The Chettiars have largely abandoned their homes in this region, along with the economic activity that underpinned their luxurious way of life. The splendid heritage left by past generations has been progressively eroded but the solid materials from which they were built have enabled them to stand proud, despite the onslaught of time and attrition. The Lucrative Business of Antiques It is not only time that threatens these beautiful houses, but also the lucrative business around the export of columns, windows, ceilings and decorative elements. Houses and entire villages are rapidly vanishing, packed into containers and headed for western countries. Lack of Protection and Regulations in a Large Territory Chettinad is in the early stage of tourism development. As yet, the buildings and the surroundings are not protected. The development of key areas such as Karaikkudi, Devakottai, Kottaiyur, Pallathur, Kanadukathan, Kandanur, Rayavaram or Kadiyapatti and other places, needs careful planning to include both the heritage and development agendas and to take into account the interests of multiple stakeholders.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Bad Future

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Bad Future

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Challenges to the Development of Tourism


Growth Without Planning and Stakeholder Partnerships
Massive Desertion, Demolition, Lack of Maintenance
Altough Kandukathan is still a great testimony to the past glory of the communitys lifestyle, it is estimated that a large number of heritage houses have already been demolished such as shown below with red hatch. Only the mounds on which the homes were built remain or sometimes an entrance door or a portion of wall. The disappearance of these homes is a significant loss of living heritage for the different communities in the region.

Diagram showing location of demolished heritage houses in the village of Kanadukathan

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Bad Future
Development without planning and regulations will entail the loss of Chettinads heritage. A specific regional plan will be necessary to outline the possibilities of heritagebased development which would include the following: Definition of the heritage zone; height of the buildings; alignments; types of windows; materials and colours. Connectivity, mobility and public facilities also have to be considered before-hand.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Looking to the Future

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Looking to the Future


Make Chettinad a Destination
Improvement of Public Facilities - Improvement of inter-city connections , public transport and mobility - Improvement of public spaces while respecting their heritage value. This would include lighting and signage. - Treatment of solid waste - Water management, including traditional water system such as ooranis and erys - Improvement of sanitation and sewerage system. - Renewable energies, such as the production of solar energy, windmills for wind power and use of biomass fuels. - Increasing the flow of visitors with an adapted train time table. Creation of the Heritage House and the Heritage Centre - Creation of a centre for raising awareness of the value of the regional heritage and providing relevant advice to the local authorities and the local inhabitants - Information centre for visitors - Office to provide technical assistance to the District Authorities for the development of legal tools for heritage protection . Development of a Heritage-based Itinerary - Development of a regional identity brand - Architectural and urban trails, Temple trail, Handicraft Trail, etc

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Creation of a Regional Plan and a Master Plan, an Inclusive Local Protection and Development Plan - Regional level - Local and village level - Restoration and adaptive re-use Development of Cultural Tourism - Development of different types of accommodation for tourists - Creation of tourist facilities such as restaurants, coffee shops and souvenir shops Training for guides - Development of cultural activities such as an interpretation centre and an eco-museum - Promoting and introducing the Chettinad gourmet cuisine - Highlight living heritage such as religious or village festivals. Revival and Development of Chettinad Handicraft - Encouraging initiatives for local know-how through micro credit schemes - Promoting local handicrafts - Creation of a centre for training and production of handicrafts and applied arts - Creation of a centre for international exchange

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Looking to the Future


Guiding Principles

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

The Objectives of the Tourism Development Plan should be To support the initiatives of cultural tourism which are respectful of the natural and built environment, in particular the aesthetic, historical and architectural value of the buildings. To consider and respect the local population and invite their participation in the development and implementation of tourism projects (creating jobs for the local population under fair working conditions with improved health and social security). To promote the adoption of the 1995 Charter on Sustainable Development and the Charter for Sustainable Tourism, drawn up by the WTO to the local population and to tourism professionals and the authorities. This can be achieve by educating the personnel on the environmental aspects and their role with respect to this; satisfying the expectations of clients and obtaining their loyalty and support by providing information and educating them on the environmental aspects of the charter; saving and/or recycling resources by putting the necessary systems into place, using local natural resources, where possible, for raw materials and organic food, etc. To create a resource centre for monitoring and mitigating the impact of tourism on the environment and humans in this fragile context. To spread awareness of the region throughout India and abroad, to organize visits, conferences and any other programmes to promote the region.

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Looking to the Future


Action Plan Chettinad Heritage-Based Development Project
First Phase A plan for the protection of the area will be created and tools will be put into place for developing and protecting the site. This will involve the creation of a Heritage House and a Heritage Centre housed in a restored palace and equipped with a multi-disciplinary team who are entrusted with the task of studying and promoting the site : A plan for the protection of the area The creation of a Heritage House in a restored heritage building in Kottaiyur The creation of a Heritage Centre in a restored heritage building in Kottaiyur The creation of an Interpretation Centre in the old Chettinad train station Second Phase A larger development project will be implemented. This will involve the creation of: An Ecomuseum A Centre for Training and Production of Handicrafts and Applied Arts A Centre for International Exchange With the purpose of finding synergies between creativity and the conservation of heritage; the development of cultural tourism; and to serve as a reference for local population and visitors.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Looking to the Future


Action Plan Constitution of a Chettinad Heritage House
The Chettinad Heritage House is a multidisciplinary team of national and international architects, planners, lawyers and mediators whose role will be to build awareness amongst the population and the local and federal authorities, concerning the protection of the site. This will provide a platform for exchanging information and undertaking joint initiatives. The team of experts will give technical and legal advice and will suggest solutions for adapting the houses to standards of modern comfort and to new functions where appropriate in order to facilitate their continued maintenance. The Heritage House Expert Team will also undertake an inventory of the built up area and the water and drainage systems, as well as a qualitative study of the natural areas and the houses, temples and villages. This will be with the aim of devising a comprehensive strategy for the conservation of the site through incentives and regulations. This will include the following: A conservation plan, a regional development plan, plans for tourism, suggestions for legislation, rules and regulations. This will be subject to the approval of the District Collectors, the various Panchayats (village councils) and the inhabitants. The team will prepare the dossiers for classifying the site at different levels: national, federal and international. The Heritage House Expert Team will also receive researchers and residential artists and will publicize their work and will contribute to the plan through exhibitions and publications. It will propose and explore the feasibility of future development projects in science, education and tourism. To do this a research centre, offices, a library and lodging facilities may be created.

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Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

The School in the old Alagappa Chettiar house in Kottaiyur proposed for conversion into the office of the Chettinad Heritage House Expert Team

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Looking to the Future


Action Plan
Creation of a Heritage Centre
The selected heritage building will house the Heritage Centre open to visitors from home and overseas and will offer services and utilities such as cafeteria-restaurant, handicraft shop, book shop as well as practical and cultural information. It will also offer site plan, conferences, shows, demonstrations of skills, workshops for adults and children and temporary exhibitions (for two or three years following themes such as handicrafts, history, customs and way of life, natural and built heritage). It will undertake medium term projects, namely an eco-museum, centre for training and production of handicrafts and applied art and will also function as a centre for international exchanges.

Heritage Building in Kottaiyur to be converted into the Chettinad Heritage House and Heritage Centre

Creation of an Interpretation Centre in the Old Chettinad Train Station Building


The regeneration of the old train station, the gateway to Chettinad to serve as an interpretation and information centre for visitors, will also be a key tool for sensitizing and disseminating practical information. Panels produced by the university partnerships and the Heritage House will be displayed in the old restored building.
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Heritage building at the Chettinad train station to be converted into Interpretation Centre

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

The old Chettinad train station heritage building

Indian Heritage Passport Programme on the Chettinad Trail in Tamil Nadu

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Looking to the Future


Action Plan Elaboration of a Protection and Development Plan
Collection of Data
Information on existing development projects undertaken in the proposed heritage zone of the Chettinad Region; Historical knowledge (books, bibliographies, iconographies) Survey materials (cartography; government survey reports, archeological maps, geographical atlas; national database) in collaboration with Government departments such as the Departments for Cultural Affairs, Environment, Archives, Water and Forest

Identification and Analysis of the Existing Heritage


On the basis of a survey of the territory and in close collaboration with the district and municipal authorities and heritage conservation architects, a team of architects and urban planners will identify the heritage elements, built or otherwise, old or new, extraordinary or mediocre, homogenous or heterogeneous, that are necessary to understand the evolution of the sites. The work will involve the analysis of constructed areas and other lands, urban structure and architectural features to serve as a basis for a heritage-based urban planning.

Proposal for Future Orientations


Based on the analysis and the diagnosis and taking into account all the stakes, the working group, the Technical Cell, the Heritage Committee and the Heritage House Expert Team will put forth proposals for future planning which will be presented to local bodies and local inhabitants detailing the objectives to be met, defining the limits of the sector to be preserved in the Chettinad territory with a broad overview of the rules. These proposals will take into account all development plans for the entire sector.

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Drawing up and Handing over the Final Documents


A report giving the reasons for creating protected heritage zones and the objectives will be presented along with an overview of the historical, geographical, urban, architectural and landscape features of Chettinad territory. Draft regulations made up of recommendations and prescriptions and a graphical document showing the boundaries of the zone will be presented. Example of a Sector Protection Plan for the City of Chinon (Region Centre, France) showing: Historic momuments; Buildings to be protected; Buildings to be restored; Buildings of no heritage value; Buildings to be demolished; Natural zone to be protected.

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Looking to the Future


Action Plan The Ecomuseum:
Preserving and Displaying a Representative Collection
The collection of art and ethnographical objects will be presented more effectively. This collection will form the basis of educational exhibitions for the public, tourists and students, tracing the history, traditions and specific urban planning techniques of Chettinad within the larger context of South India and Southeast Asia, since Chettinads history is so closely linked to the major geo-political changes in this part of the globe.

Objectives
Constitution of a collection of art and ethnographical objects that serve as a reference for Chettinads heritage. Conservation and restoration of the existing architectural heritage. Presentation of an educational exhibition to the public suitable for both local inhabitants, tourists and academicians . Spreading knowledge and awareness of this heritage through the development of cultural tourism. Creation of archives for the use of the local population and interested parties. Resource centre for those involved in the global project An important link for promoting the production of handicrafts. Visitors will visit the workshops where the handicraft will be on sale. A cultural centre organizing programmes on the museum premises, such as the dances of South India, public readings by Indian authors, exhibitions of the work of the in-house artists, etc.

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Exhibition Themes
History - The Nagarathar Chettiars, origin and legends - The Nagarathar Chettiars, a community of merchants in pre-colonial India - The Nagarathar Chettiars, the Zenith of Chettinad power and influence - The Nagarathar Chettiars today Territory - Chettinadu, clans and temples - Chettinadu, urban planning, water management, villages consisting of palatial homes

Way of life and traditions Types of traditional architecture and external influences Family structure and rites from birth to death,anniversaries, etc. Local arts and crafts in Chettinad: Athangudi tiles; Chettinad plaster, frescoes; textiles: silk, cotton; basket work; wood carving; figurines and sculptures in terracotta; bronze work; gold and silver work, jewellery; stone sculptures; Tanjore paintings; concrete sculptures Imported objects: polished marble and granite; lacquer ware from Burma; terracotta from China, Vietnam and Burma; ceramics from Japan and Great Britain; stained glass; enamel vessels

Example of exhibits: Baskets, kottans, various containers, vessel at Rm. Rm. Foundation in Kanadukathan

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Looking to the Future


Action Plan

2007 and 2008 Chettinad Heritage Studio-Programmes within the framework of international exchange between Anna University (Chennai) and School of Chaillot (Paris), with the collaboration of UNESCO and ArcHe-S

2007 and 2008 Chettinad Heritage Studio-Programmes within the framework of international exchange between Anna University (Chennai) and School of Chaillot (Paris), with the collaboration of UNESCO and ArcHe-S

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The Centre for International Exchange


The workshops to be offered by this Centre will aim to look at: - Economic growth in the fragile context of heritage conservation. - Diversity of cultural expression in the age of globalisation. - Forging an alliance between design, science and crafts to ensure production that is respectful of the environment. - The contribution of new technologies and new methods of financing in order to support very small companies.

The Centre for Training and Production of Handicrafts and Applied Arts:
Starting a Virtuous Cycle
The handicraft centre will ensure: - Provision of training, particularly for women and youth, to give employment opporunities in the production units and restoration sites. This would have the dual purpose of improving their standard of living and also preserving the cultural heritage of the region. - Creation of work for experienced artisans, thus helping the transfer of knowledge from generation to generation. - Training in technical areas as well as in the fields of design, management, commercial techniques and new technologies. - Constant guidance for artisans to master the technical and theoretical aspects of their crafts through a permanent support from the professionals of the Centre and the invited experts. - Logistics of production and marketing.

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Credit :
ArcHe-S and Dept of Tourism, Tamil Nadu Government: Anna University in collaboration with ArcHe-S City of Chinon Sector Protection Plan Chinon: ArcHe-S photos: ArcHe-S diagram: Mr. Abby Philip, ArcHe-S: Mr. S. Mudhiah: Mr. V. Muthuraman: Unknown Old photo of Chettiars: Ms. Marie Kindel Maps: 9 35; 57/61; 63/66; 72 85;89; 95; 101 Cover; 4/7; 11; 15; 21/56; 62/63; 65; 67/77; 80/81; 85/86; 88; 92; 95; 97/99; 103/104 10; 12; 79; 87; 97; 48/49 24 37 13; 16 14; 18/19

Special thanks to the Students of Anna University: Usha Devi, Sujitha, Sivakumar, Sharanya R., Pavithra, Jayakumar, Askara Fahmin, Cchristina, Dinesh, Bivvya, Kiruthika, Neha, Ridhi, Bharathi, Elizabeth, Karthik, Lakshmi, Prathikssa, Saritha, Dhileep, Greg, Janani, Rahdika, Sivabharathi, Suvetha, Aparna, CLBF, Gomathy, Ranjani, Shruti, Valshnavi, Vidhya, Adithya, Anuradha, Apoorva, Prita, Raja, Sangeetha, Subhashini

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Revive Chettinad Heritage Project is supported by

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United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) B5/29 Safdarjung Enclave New Delhi 110 029 INDIA Phone : +91-11-2671 3000 Email: newdelhi@unesco.org website: www.unesco.org/newdelhi

The printing of the publication was supported by LA MAISON DES INDES, FRANCE