Many an effort has been undertaken in recent years to throw light on the historic Chettinad buildings and culture in the Karaikudi-Sivaganga region and promote tourism as a means to conserve these houses, each of which has an imprint of Chettinad culture.
But here is a unique attempt undertaken by an international automobile company to build its brand in this region by showcasing the Chettinad culture. Jaguar-Land Rover, the combined multinational automotive company of two iconic British cars, is hosting a JLR-Chettinad Weekend from Friday to Sunday at The Bangala, a 1920-built Chettinad heritage house converted into a heritage hotel.
The Land Rover was the only company in the world that began solely as a Sports Utility Vehicle maker and still in the same business, Sanjeev Subramanian, General Manager (Sales and Service) of VST Grandeur, a premier dealership launched by the Rs. 3000-crore VST GROUP representing Jaguar and Land Rover across Tamil Nadu, told The Hindu .
The Land Rover, he said, was the most used vehicle in extreme inhospitable terrains ranging from the Himalayas to Africa and Mongolia. Jaguar Cars, the luxury and sports car manufacturer, was set up in 1922 in Britain.
Through this event, he said that the firm hoped to build in the deep south of Tamil Nadu the brand of the product which was so far confined predominantly to Chennai and a couple of other cities. “We want to connect with the art and culture of Chettinad, which fits with the profile of our company.”
Seven products of the company would be on display at the show. They include the Land Rover’s two utility vehicles — the Freelander and Discovery, and three Range Rovers — Evoque, Sport, and the Range Rover. The two Jaguar models of Jaguar XF and Jaguar XJ were also on display, added Mr. Sanjeev.
Such events, said M. Meyyappan, promoter of The Bangala, which is hosting the event, would help bring in more visitors and tourists to these heritage-rich buildings and promote the region. “Now, we are mostly seeing only foreign guests. We need more people to come and see these buildings to enable us to conserve Chettinad buildings that are massive in structure and need extensive maintenance.”
Apart from the car show, the event also features a performance by the renowned Bharatanatyam exponent Alarmel Valli on Saturday and a lunch on the final day of Sunday that would feature the famous Chettinad cuisine, he added.