Chettinad belongs to the Sivaganga district of south Tamil Nadu and is home to the extremely wealthy and prosperous mercantile community of the Nattukottai Chettiars. The region is as renowned for its well spiced, aromatic and non vegetarian cuisine (excepting for beef and pork) as for its architecture and temples.. Traditional 18th century Chettinad mansions reflect both bygone and current prosperity, with wide, tiled courtyards and spacious, teak and marble decorated rooms.
The well travelled Chettiars had the wherewithal to import construction material and furnishings from East Asia, marble from Italy, chandeliers and teakwood from Burma, tableware from Indonesia, crystal chandeliers from Europe and immense mirrors from Belgium. Their homes’ wood and stonework were inspired by the great mansions of Europe, particularly those of France and their homes are extremely impressive, in an unusual combination of South Indian and Western styles.