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For a traditional flooring

Athangudi handmade tiles look stylish even in fashionable homes, and a variety of designs produced domestically can be found in Bengaluru now. By Ranjani Govind 

Athangudi handmade tiles look stylish even in fashionable homes, and a variety of designs produced domestically can be found in Bengaluru now. By Ranjani Govind 

Athangudi tiles are handmade and named after Athangudi, the village the place they originated and positioned within the Chettinad space of Tamil Nadu. They’re also called ‘Chettinad tiles’ or ‘Karaikudi tiles’ portraying the legacy of Chettinad. Hundreds of households had been as soon as concerned within the making of those tiles, with the normal craft handed over generations.

Nicely-known eco-friendly architect Benny Kuriakose who follows no-waste development says, “Have you ever seen Chettinad’s brick and mortar treasures? The partitions and ground belie their age and even corners look as in the event that they had been polished not too long ago. I’ve delved into Chettinad interiors that herald signature Athangudi ground tiles, making their mansions charming. Athangudi’s vibrant floral and geometric patterns have graduated from being signatures of a Karaikudi mansion to being the decorative satisfaction of well-liked accommodations in India and overseas.”

Freshly made tile
| Photograph Credit score: Madhurya Creations

Historical past

Greater than twenty years in the past arts boutique Kipling & Co Arts in Chennai had shared data to this reporter on how patterned Athangudi tiles had been impressed by Victorian tiles in the UK, and the way the tiles had been later tried to be made in Chettinadu. Initially tiles from Germany, England and Italy made their method into the properties of prosperous Nattukotai Chettairs, however when the tiles had been seen sporting away with time, fixing them turned burdensome. That was when – greater than 150 years in the past – enterprising folks of the world learnt tile-making for having a trademark of their very own in Athangudi. The tiles processed had been a mix of the originals and had been costly.

Chettinad splendour

The ethnic inside merchandise equipped by restoration boutique Madhurya Creations in Bengaluru have an understated but traditional décor. Madhurya’s inside decorations convey reminiscences of the bungalows of Karaikudi the place ancestral properties had been owned by the mercantile neighborhood of Tamil Nadu. Pointing to the Chettinad treasures within the type of carved pillars, stained glass home windows, Athangudi tiles and ornamental doorways at Madhurya’s workshop area, Bharathy Harish of Madhurya Creations says “Restoration being our motto, we are able to re-create properties with earthy decors extra so with the Chettinad splendour. As we’ve our personal Sri Sri Rural Growth Programme (SSRDP) unit for manufacturing Athangudi tiles, we are able to provide them individually or take up a collective-décor package deal for properties bringing in pillars, Tanjore work, home windows & doorways, and the provision and laying of Athangudi ground tiles.”        

Workers on the job

Staff on the job
| Photograph Credit score: Madhurya Creations

“River sand, white cement, pure color oxides and water go into this distinctive conventional hand-processed tile that doesn’t require electrical energy or any sort of firing. They’re immersed in water for curing and dried in shade later,” says Mohan Iyer who heads the Athangudi manufacturing unit at SSRDP. “This unit was formally began in the long run of 2021 below the steering of Sri Ravishankar to encourage artisans from Athangudi to manually produce them in South Bengaluru to assist locals supply them and have the artwork stay in use. Solely with rising variety of artisans will the artwork be practised. Right this moment, with modern selections galore, it’s a problem to maintain alive our indigenous hand-made craft and provide choices to prospects,” says Mr. Iyer, who has a civil upkeep and renovations background.

Perfecting the method

Being a hand-crafted tile, producing it definitely requires talent and dexterity. For, one minor error and the deficiency within the tile is so pronounced as to make it unfit for laying. But, apparently, the laying seems pretty easy when the proceedings are watched, with the process ranging from deciding the design and creating the related body.

The making begins with a glass plate over which the chosen body is positioned. Vivid colored oxides are deftly poured into the body, with many a time completely different colors being poured into every slot, taking acute care to make sure nil spillage of fallacious colors into fallacious slots. The oxides are then layered with mud and cement combine and left to set. The dried and set tile is then soaked in water for 3 days, submit which it’s dried in shade for per week to 10 days earlier than it is able to be shipped.

The laying begins with a ramification of moist cement and dirt combination over which thick cement milk is evenly poured earlier than inserting the tiles. Twenty 4 hours after the tiles set, the newly laid tiles are washed with water and yet one more layer of cement milk is poured to seal the gaps between the tiles. That is adopted by a layer of dry cement and color which is later cleaned to disclose effectively stuffed gaps. The process ends with the ultimate layering of grain mud which is left to remain for per week. The tiled flooring is then prepared to make use of with a clear cleaning soap wash, revealing sheer artwork on the ground.

It’s laborious

SSRDP has manufactured practically 15,000 sq ft of Athangudi tiles since Navaratri 2021. “It’s laborious, a unit of 4 could make 200 tiles per day they usually do them standing, meticulously utilizing pure color oxides for every tile,” says Mr. Iyer including that oxides of crimson, yellow, inexperienced, blue, black and white colors can be found, with extra shades out there by mixing these tints.

Athangudi tiles can be found in 10”x10” and as skirting and border tiles in 10”x5.” Border tiles make the flooring look carpet-like. Ask Mr. Iyer about the most typical complaints of fissures being developed in course of time with Athangudi tiles, and he travels again to the time of crimson oxide floorings which have stood the check of time for hundreds of years. “It’s the identical know-how utilized in tile kind in Athangudi. However there are extra patterns and designs introduced in. The tiles assist in not having undulated flooring as seen in crimson oxide. Fissures, to a big extent, will be averted if the tiles have been cured in exactitude, in the suitable course of. It’s in spite of everything hand-made, so imperfections can’t be averted though it may be minimalised with processes adopted scrupulously. Even pure marble is porous, so it’s all in the best way we have fun the pure and hand-made,” says Mr. Iyer including that even the hairline cracks in Athangudi tiles have folks accepting them as a brand new patterning. Upkeep is simple with common brooming, he says, whereas including a couple of drops of coconut oil as soon as in a month whereas mopping leaves the ground with a greater sheen.


Athangudi tiles value ₹ 80 per sq ft with 144 tiles making up 100 sq. ft. The laying expenses are further. Purchasers can come and select their sample and hues too on the SSRDP unit, says Mr. Iyer.  

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