Doors and Pillars of Chettinad

On February 19, 2018

Chettinad is a village pressed against two of the most significant cities in Tamil Nadu, Trichy and Madurai. It is a famous tourist destination for many due to its eclectic culture, magnificent mansions and unmatched affinities for art and culture. Primarily being the home land of the Chettiar community, Chettinad displays an innate characteristic where architecture plays an important role.As you would understand while visiting Chettinad, the large mansions adorn some of the best architectural elements and features that may not be found elsewhere in the country. The mansions and the architectural features of the mansions are a great subject of study for people interested in architecture.Upon visiting Chettinad, visitors who want to understand the intricate works that are seen on the pillars and doors of the mansions will surely be in for a treat.

Each of the mansions in Chettinad—from the Aayiram Jannal Veedu, to the Chettinad Museums, to various Mani Mandapams and the Periya Veedu—has several pillars and doors to the houses.

The biggest and the best of the doors of any mansion is the main door that welcomes people from the Mugappu to the main hall of the house. As the most important, displayed and prominent of all the doors, the main door is usually ornated with several art works to make them all look better and more attractive. Some of the doors adorn figures of deities from Hindu Mythology while many others adorn flowers, stripes and patterns.

All such wood craft and art works on the door are supposed to raise the stature of the family among the community, and this was one of the major reason the Chettiars took all the pain to have such works done on their doors. Another important reason is that the Community at large was a collection of many patrons of art and craft. As a result, they always liked the idea of having great artistical expressions welcoming their guests and creating a distinct feel to their mansion.

Another striking feature of the Chettinad doors was the locks they used. As the doors are massive ones befitting the size of the mansions, the lock and keys always matched the magnitude and style of the doors. The locks and keys were huge, often crafted on the request of the Chettiar.

Another important aspect of Chettinad houses is the pillars of the houses. These pillars were made from different materials depending upon the financial stature of the house; most of the Chettiar mansions have pillars made from wood, marble, iron and mosaic. Irrespective of the material out of which the pillars were made of, they heavily wear several architectural works to make them look all the more luring and attractive. The pillars come in all shapes and forms with different colors to match the interior decorative patterns of the mansions. However, most of them adorned a golden hue matching the interior and walls of the rooms the pillars were supporting. More so than a medium to express the artistical affinities of the Chettiars, the pillars were necessary to support the gigantic structures that the mansions are.