Back at The Bangala: on the upcoming Chettinad Heritage and Cultural Festival

The Chettinad Heritage and Cultural Festival promises a deep dive into the region’s rich history

Published - July 13, 2022 05:57 pm IST

A view of the Athangudi Periya Veedu

A view of the Athangudi Periya Veedu

If visiting Chettinad and experiencing the region’s rich culture, flavourful cuisine, and extravagant architecture has been on your to-do list for way too long, the upcoming Chettinad Heritage and Cultural Festival is a good place to start.

Curated by noted Bharatanatyam artiste Leela Samson, the four-day festival to be held next month will bring to the fore literary talks, dance and musical performances. “The main idea is to draw attention to the heritage properties of Chettinad and our cultural moorings which are well-maintained in a district like Chettinad and its surrounding areas like Pudukkottai,” says Leela of the event that is all set to be held in the architecturally stunning Chettiar mansions and massive courtyards, as well as in open air spaces.

A snapshot from Chettinad

A snapshot from Chettinad

The line-up comprises temple tours and talks by historian Chitra Madhavan, mansion tours of Chettinad homes at Athangudi and Kadiapatti, a visit to the factory churning out the beautiful Athangudi tiles, a tour of Tamil Nadu’s Ayyanar groves by founder-director of DakshinaChitra Heritage Museum, Deborah Thiagarajan, a talk on Chettinad’s jewellery and textiles by jewellery historian and author Usha Balakrishnan, in addition to talks on architecture, vocal concerts, Bharatnatyam performances, cooking lessons at The Bangala, Karaikudi, and a bazaar at the MS House in Karaikudi selling textiles, jewellery, paintings and more.

Leela explains how the idea of the festival kickstarted over a conversation about the Chettinad mansions and their disintegration over the past few years. “Instead of selling out, I suggested it may become a city of privately-owned art institutions, galleries and museums. A haven for learning and preserving the mansions in their glory,” says the Padma Shri awardee, adding how with the blessings of Meenakshi Meyyappan of The Bangala, she, along with Yacob George, general manager, The Bangala, started the thought process and then brought in experts and elders of the community to join in.

A snapshot of Spanda Dance Company

A snapshot of Spanda Dance Company | Photo Credit: Meha Desai

Leela believes that the festival’s highlights would be the lectures of Chitra Madhavan that will provide a deeper understanding of the Shiva and Perumal streams of thought, the inaugural abhishekam and Nadaswaram concert at the Vinayakar temple, and the Ayyanar trail led by Deborah.

And if you are a first-time visitor, she suggests viewing a few mansions which are still privately owned and therefore not easily accessible. “And, do all the things we are arranging on a platter — the Chettinad saris, jewellery, the Athangudi tiles, the temples,” she says.

Leela adds that after the event, she hopes the community will get together to create a museum with a black-and-white picture gallery, videos of ceremonies and marriages, family songs and recipes, and also trace business and trade routes between them and South-East Asia.

The festival will be held from August 12 to 15. For donor passes of ₹15,000, which permit entry to all events, contact 9148324801.

Meenakshi Srinivasan

Meenakshi Srinivasan



Leela Samson

Leela Samson | Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.