Movie buffs in Kerala would be familiar with the Chettinad Palace in Tamil Nadu, thanks to films, including the multi-starrer 'Kandukondain Kandukondain'. Now, Malayalam actress Ahaana Krishna has shared a picture of the palace. She posted the photo on Instagram with the caption 'Sunset and some old-world charm'.
The Kanadukathan Chettinad Palace is located at a distance of about 15km from Sivaganga in the Karaikudi taluk of the TN state. Though named a palace, it was not built by any king. The magnificent mansion was constructed by M Annamalai Chettiar in 1912. It took seven years to complete the construction of the resplendent mansion, which is built in the traditional Chettinad style of architecture.
This palatial mansion exemplifies the perfect fusion of art, architecture and tradition. Decorative lamps, teak wood, glass, marble, carpets, and rugs were all imported from abroad for the construction of the mansion.
In Tamil Nadu, you will come across Chettinad-style homes at several places including at Karaikudi, Pallathur, and Athangudi. Wood imported from east Asian countries and even Europe has gone into the construction of these mansions that have wooden carvings and embellishments, and are no less to palaces in terms of grandeur.
The palace, with granite pillars, also has a sprawling courtyard. As soon as you enter, you will see the reception hall with a high ceiling and marble flooring. Huge portraits of the owners, including that of Annamalai Chettiar, stand tall here. But most of the furniture are covered up or moved out.
On either side of the entrance, there are thinnai (raised verandah) and pillars. The doors and windows, made from teak wood imported from Burma, add to the opulence of the mansion. The main doors and entrances of such houses are usually similar to the entrances of temples. On top of these, there would be intricate wooden carvings.
There is also a huge courtyard on the palace premises where weddings or religious ceremonies are held. On one corner is the puja room of Annamalai Chettiar’s wife. Several valuables of the family have been safely kept at the mansion. Annamalai Chettiar had hosted several functions at his mansion itself.
The dining hall that can accommodate 250 people, the several courtyards, ornate pillars, and the open grounds are all mesmerising sights. The palace also has a 1990-sq-ft car shed where nine cars can be parked.
Though the mansion is a picturesque sight, visitors cannot easily gain entry to the Chettinad Palace. Earlier for a small fee, visitors could visit this mansion through various heritage homes. But now that is not possible. But there are some other Chettinad mansions in Kanadukathan that allow people to visit. These are used for gatherings of the Chettiar families.