Jan 6, 2014

Travel | Kanadukathan - Where art, architecture and craft meet

Continued from here..
Chettinadu is a cluster of villages in Tamil Nadu and Kanadukathan and Karaikudi are a few popular towns in it.The colossal palaces and bungalows in and around Kanadukathan are a good place to understand and appreciate the love for art, architecture and craft of the a very influential business community of South India called Chettiars.

We had a hearty breakfast in hotel Breeze in Trichy and started early for Kanadukathan. The city is a quite and serene village boasting many palatial 8th century mansions.
As we were travelling around Christmas holidays, booking a resort was became a tough task. Our friend suggested this small but extremely comfortable Inn in Kanadukathan called Chettinadu Inn.

The hotel is located right behind the famous Chettinadu mansion overlooking many other resorts which were already booked. We parked our car and were greeted by the very homely and caring hotel staff.

Spacious dinning hall with a very clean kitchen was what attracted me in this small yet comfortable Inn. I also enjoyed the luxury of deciding my own menu and even entering the clean and well furnished kitchen cooking my own meal!

Thoguh entry to the most popular Chettinadu palace is restricted for visitors but it was worth stopping by just for the exteriors from the roads.
We got up quite early the next morning and set out to explore the village life at 6 am.
Most of these mansions give a deserted look as the families have moved to other cities for greener pastures. They have employed caretakers to manage and take care of their rich heritage. A few of these palatial houses are converted into resorts.

I was completely floored by the wide courtyards, Burmese teak wood doors and pillars, huge Italian marble pillars supporting spacious veranda. The ceilings are heavily embellished with silver and gold motifs, intricately carved and coloured with vegetable dye which still look fresh after almost a decade.

The entrance of these mansions leads to a large veranda or covered courtyard which entertains guests who were not allowed to enter the private rooms inside.
This veranda leads to another open veranda which is surrounded by many rooms and store rooms. The open to air center verandah looks beautiful, I was imagining how beautiful it must have been during the rainy days.


Most of these mansions have more than hundred rooms in it. The pillars in the pictures are carved in Burma teak wood which still stand tall and strong.

In some of the bungalows the pillars are made with imported granite and marble. I am still unable to digest the fact that the entire mansion was owned and managed by a single family.
We finished our 3 hours of early morning adventure, met locals, watched the simple yet exciting village life  and reached hotel for breakfast.

There are no artificial lights in most of these palaces and I was finding difficult to click pictures, listening to our guide and managing my children at the same time.
In afternoon we visited the Periya veedu or big house in Attangudi which is extremely beautiful and is well maintained.

We were informed by the caretaker of the mansion in a hush-hush voice that the metal carving on the ceiling is done in pure gold.

Windows, doors and mirrors are embellished with glass murals.


The stained glass windows in the large dinning table gives a lovely light effect during mornings. These windows lit the entire dinning area which is double the size of a Tennis court. 

No doubt that these hundred plus rooms pretty mansions are a dream house for anyone. But I think I will settle with my three bed room house, lest I am lost managing the same, my entire life.
And our travel trails of rural India continue here.

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  1. These are beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing. It's on our list of places to see!

  2. this place looks wonderful have pinned to my travel dreams :-)