Eco-friendly Athangudi tiles of Chettinad

The beautiful mansions of Chettinad in Tamil Nadu are built by the Chettiar or merchant community.

The walls and floors of the mansions are decorated with colorful tiles. But that is not all, there is history attached to these tiles. In the ancient days, the wealthy merchants used to import them from Japan but repairing them became a difficult task.

Hence, they decided to set up a tile factory near Chettinad in the village of Athangudi.

Athangudi tiles are handcrafted and making them is an extremely laborious process.The craft is 150 years old. These tiles have beautiful patterns in bright colors like red, green, blue, etc.

These patterns are often created with templates. The craftsmen also create free-hand designs sometimes. The craftsmen use eco-friendly materials like local sand and clay and husks to make these decorative tiles.

 However, the popularity of these handmade tiles in the market declined over time. But architects and interior designers stepped in and their interest in these eco-friendly beautifully patterned tiles is given a fresh lease of life.

This old craft has been revived and used an art- deco tile pattern technique in India. I would like to request the editorial board to assign a journalist to take up this issue and shed light on this age-old craftsmanship.