Unesco has offered to set up a ‘Chettinad Heritage Museum’ in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, recognizing the unique style of architecture in the region. A draft action plan to set up the museum has been put forward, said Minja Yang, Unesco India director.
The project will be taken up if the district administration sends a proposal for the project, he said. “The uniqueness of the Chettinad houses is that they could be museums by themselves,” he said. District collector M.A. Siddique said the district administration would extend support to the project.
More museums on themes including Chettinad marriage, rituals, community functions, arts, crafts and woodworks would also be set up, he said.
Chettinad region rose to fame in the 19th century as home to successful traders and financiers who spread their wings throughout southeast Asia. They built palatial houses, often over raised mounds, with elegant halls and huge courtyards. Economic decline and migration led to the abandonment of many of the houses. Around one-third of them have been destroyed while only less than 10% of the remaining houses have been occupied.