Chettiar Palace, Kanadukathan, Sivaganga
Chettiar Palace, also known as Chettiar Mansion is located at Kanadukathan in Chettinad region. It is a historic home of the Chettinad Raja, which has been converted into a heritage hotel. This mansion was constructed by S. A. Ramaswamy Chettiar and it took over 10 years from 1902 to complete its construction. The rooms of this mansion are embellished using Burmese teak wood and the furnishings of the palace have been imported from various European and East Asian countries. There is a huge dining hall in this palace that can accommodate around 250 people at a time. The open courtyard of this mansion has beautifully stone-carved pillars that add to the beauty of this heritage home.
The palace at Kanadukathan symbolizes the exquisiteness of architectural marvels, woodwork and ancient lighting, besides the cultural ethos of the region. All homes have one to three `mittam’, or the inner pillared courtyard. Italian glossy tiles have been used on walls and ceilings. Burma teak, granite pillars, stained glass, artistic grills and such exquisite materials used in the buildings speak volumes of the quality and lifestyle of its owners and the skilled workforce. In these houses are numerous windows and very high ceilings.
At the entrance is a pillared veranda or thinnai, meant for receiving visitors. Heavy ornate wooden doors lead to the main hall, decorated with elephant tusks, antique furniture and portraits of family members. Typically, the Palace extends further in a series of three courtyards, with the doors aligned in such a way that, from the entrance, you can see straight through to the end of the house. Italian marble, Burma teak, stained glass and a fusion of colour and ornate wrought iron, handmade tiles and woodwork, light up this home. Also visit the equally large but, unfortunately, poorly preserved Athangudi Palace. It is just 10 km from Karaikudi. It is a main shooting spot in Tamilnadu and lot of Tamil and Telugu films are shot in this palace.