The Main Courtyard is the Heart of the Mansion
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Chettinad is a hot and semi-arid region. The Chettiars took their climate into consideration in the design of their homes and the materials used. The houses were built around an East/West central courtyard which brings shade, light, coolness and air to the entire home. The materials used for construction and the essential components of this luxury home are brick and lime plaster walls, terracotta tiled roofs, stone pillars, teak columns, and marble and stone floors.

the main courtyard of the Saratha Vilas

The main courtyard is the heart of the house (naduvasal) where all the family ceremonies used to take place; the valuable marriage dowries were kept in the smaller rooms, the puja rooms (arai) on each side of the courtyard. Today they provide access to the bedrooms on one side of the courtyard forming entrance rooms and antechamber of the guests bedrooms.

photo Jean-Baptiste Pellerin

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