CHETTINAD
A Cultural Region known for its Outstanding Heritage
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The Saratha Vilas is located in the village of Kothamangalam, in the heart of Chettinad, a rich cultural region known for its outstanding architecture and living heritage.

Chettinad, a unique and little known architectural heritage

Chettinad is a semi-arid plain of 1,550 square kilometers in the heart of Tamil Nadu, inhabited by some 110,000 Chettiars who are spread over two towns and 73 villages.

Chettinad and South India
chettinad meteo
Chettiand architecture
Chettinad village clusters
Chettinad landscape
Chettinad living heritage

Since the time the community was founded, the Chettiars have upheld a vision of urban planning and development and have built thousands of palatial homes forming architectural ensembles which make this area an outstanding heritage region.
The Chettiars belong to a lineage of wealthy traders and financiers who made their fortunes by extending their business to the whole of Southeast Asia, particularly during the 19th century when they were at the peak of their economic power. As a result of their traveling, the Chettiars integrated diverse influences into their traditions which contributed to their uniqueness. Their villages were constructed upon precise and sophisticated rules of urban planning, represented namely by orthogonal streets and specific water management systems.
The houses, which evolved over two centuries, are veritable palaces, and one can see hundreds of them in each village. On the ground floor, the architecture is typically Tamil, while one can see Western influences on the higher floors. This reflects the Chettiar way of life, a combination of their vibrant traditions with the global economy. In order to build these palaces, materials and expertise from all over the world were used, only adding to the cultural glory of Chettinad.

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