India: The Mansions of the Chettiars

99 images Created 3 Dec 2010

Numbering more than 25,000, Chettinad's mansions were built by a Hindu caste of Chettiars called the Nagarathars. They were bankers and merchants who made their fortunes outside India in Burma, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore during the times of the British colonialism. With this new found fortunes they built mansions, exquisite palaces that rivaled those of even the Maharajah's using teak from Burma, marble form Italy, tiles from Japan and steel from England. But these glory days only lasted until after the WWII when the British left Burma and they were forced to leave return to India. Suddenly with no income their mansions began to decay and fall down or were pulled take and the pillars, windows, doors and antiques were sold. Some estimates say that around 20 per month are coming down. Hopefully, with the aid of preservation projects such as the Revive Chettinad Society, and the influx of tourism these mansions can be saved before they all fall down.
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