• Benny Kuriakose

EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ATHANGUDI TILES (CHETTINAD TILES)

Athangudi tiles are ecofriendly handmade floor tiles , named after Athangudi, the village where they originated and are made. Athangudi is a manufacturing place located in the Chettinad Area of Tamil Nadu. Athangudi tiles also known by the names such as ‘Chettinad tiles’, Karaikudi tiles’, portrays an incredible and classic expression of the legacy Of Chettinad. These tiles are used in the Chettinad area for more than 100 years. Many families in the village are involved in the tile making and they depend on this craft for their livelihood. This traditional craft has been passed over generation from older to younger hands.


Table of Contents

  1. The History

  2. Raw Materials for Athangudi Tile

  3. Moulds Involved in the Manufacture of Athangudi Tile

  4. Athangudi Tile Making Process

  5. Tile Laying Process

  6. Athangudi Tile Designs

  7. Colour Availability

  8. Are Athangudi Tiles Expensive?

  9. Uses and Advantages of Athangudi Tiles

  10. Disadvantages of Athangudi Tiles

  11. Maintenance and Cleaning of Athangudi Tiles

  12. Location & Availability

  13. The Chettinad Tile Industry and Its Contribution to Sustainability: A Case Study

  14. Athangudi Tiles in our Projects


Patterned Athangudi Tiles in Verandah
Patterned Athangudi Tiles in Verandah

The History


Most of the designs are inspired from the Victorian tiles in United Kingdom. S. Gomathy of Kipling & Co. Arts recalled how the tiles were first attempted in Chettinad. “Originally tiles from Germany, England and Italy made their way into affluent homes, but when the tiles aged with wear and tear, fixing them again was cumbersome. That was when the enterprising people of the area learnt the art of tile-making and having a trademark of their own in Athangudi.” (Taken from the “Aura of Athangudi tiles” Article in Hindu Newspaper). The tile processed was actually a blend of east and west. During the earlier days of their production, these tiles were preferred more by the rich since it was a newer technology in those days and was a bit expensive to afford.


Raw Materials for Athangudi Tiles


Athangudi Tiles are manufactured from locally available materials such as river sand, cement and naturally occurring oxides, hence very sustainable. Originally, lime was used for making Athangudi Tiles. The following are the ingredients used for the making of Athangudi Tiles:

  1. White Cement

  2. Grey Cement ( around 175 tiles can be made with one bag of cement)

  3. Sand (around 300 sq. ft. of tiles can be made out of 1 tractor load of sand)

  4. Colouring Oxide

  5. Tank Water


Image of Plain Athangudi Tiles
Image of Plain Athangudi Tiles

Different colours are available in the market and generally the brand used is Nerolac Oxide. Nowadays, the imported colour oxides are also used. The colours which are usually bought are,