Location: Chettinad, Tamil Nadu
Founded By: Dr Annamali Chettiyar
Founded In: 1912
Chettinad Palace is a beautiful edifice situated in the Chettinad
region, which comes under the Sivaganga district of southern Tamil Nadu.
Dr Annamali Chettiyar, founder of the Indian Bank and the Annamalai
University in Chidambaram, got the palace constructed. Even the design
of the palace was provided by Dr Chettiyar only. An outstanding example
of the Chettinad architecture, the Chettinad Palace of India dates back
to the year 1912. It reflects the traditional style of architecture,
which is characteristic of the region.
The construction material, decorative items as well as the furnishings
that adorn the palace of Chettinad were mostly imported from East Asian
countries and Europe. The marble was brought from Italy, chandeliers and
teak from Burma, crockery from Indonesia, crystals from Europe and
wall-to-wall mirrors from Belgium. The woodwork and stonework festooning
the palace reflect heavy influence of the houses in France and other
European countries. In the front of the Chettinad Palace is a huge
Just next to the gate is the verandah, which has now been converted
into a waiting area for the visitors. The entire verandah has been laid
with white marble. The palace also has a meeting hall, which is
decorated with several pairs of elephant tusks. One can also see
portraits of family members and colored crystal collection in the hall.
The ceiling is adorned with copper roofing plates, which have artistic
patterns in vegetable dye. It is said that the bricks used in making the
palace were bound together with a paste of egg white, extract of an
unripe medicinal fruit found in the hills of Kadukkai and lime grind.
After crossing the meeting hall, one reaches the central courtyard,
which was once used for weddings and religious ceremonies. Surrounding
the courtyard are pillars made of Burma teak and the floor is made of
blood-red tiles and sloping woodwork. Chettinad Palace of Tamil Nadu
also has a ladies hall, which has its own courtyard and dining hall. The
third courtyard in the palace is bounded by a number of small rooms,
which were used to store crockery, food and other kitchen items.
There are also two kitchens in this courtyard, along with servant's
quarters that situated at its far end. The verandah adjoining the
courtyard has numerous large stone hand-grinders and eleven firewood
ovens have been built along the kitchen wall. One corner of the
courtyard houses the puja room. There is also a small dining room in the
Chettinad Palace for private dinners, which houses an extendable
rosewood table. On the first floor are the bedrooms and living rooms,
which are not open to pubic viewing.