UK +44 (0)1367 850566

USA 1-855-216-5040

Amazing Antiques shopping in Tamil Nadu

amazing antiques shopping in tamil nadu lead.jpg

Visit Karaikudi, a small town in Tamil Nadu famous for its stunning Chettinad bungalows that are still owned by the Chettiars. The Chettiars are a business community and owned private banks in the yesteryears.

The region doesn’t get a lot of rainfall and the soil is not suitable for farming hence after the government nationalised all banks, the Chettiars left the country to look for greener pastures leaving behind their huge bungalows in the Chettinad district which are now looked after by a caretaker.

Don’t forget to visit several such bungalows during your visit some of which are in the art deco style where as the rest are based on the typical Chettinad architecture with several courtyards, beautifully decorated ceilings, Burmese teak pillars, intricately carved doors, Italian marble, Belgian stain glass windows and handmade floor tiles.

Antique furniture is one of the main reasons why Karaikudi is famous today. There are 75 villages around Karaikudi and thousands of these gorgeous buildings lie vacant. Those who can afford it have been preserving the wealth that they have inherited by appointing caretakers but there are several families who can’t afford the upkeep of these multi storied bungalows which can have anywhere between 20 to 40 rooms.


Such properties are easy prey to antique merchants and artifacts from such heritage structures find a place in many shops on the Muneesvaran Kovil Street which has 18 such shops. Many of the major cities have antique shops but the ones at Karaikudi are really special because you would find original Ravi Verma paintings, enamel jars from Sweden, Belgian glass, hand painted tiles from Japan and England, Austrian oil lamps, original Tanjore paintings, and Lacre ware from Burma together with priceless Burmese teak furniture from the Chettinad bungalows.

If you are keen to make a purchase you can always get a good deal as there is a lot of competition as is the case in any market these days. On such a visit be prepared to walk the various lanes of the famous Muneesvaran Street with an antiques dealer who will take you to several of his small storage places and show you the wide range of things he has managed to secure from such mansions.


All the dealers on this street have huge warehouses a few kilometers away from their retail outlet. I spoke to the present generation who run these shops and was told that their father started sourcing antiques and selling those around 40 years back to connoisseurs of art.

Though one would enjoy walking through the street and visiting several of these shops, it may indeed make you sad to see these beautiful structures losing the battle. Having said that there are always two sides to a coin and at least this way the priceless pieces are cared for by art lovers and are not lying in these humungous buildings waiting for someone to notice them as hidden gems.


The Explorations Company, where no two journeys have ever been the same

We're Here to Help!

We're friendly and available to chat. Reach out to us anytime and we'll happily answer your questions.

About You

About your journey

30 years badge

How many people in your party?

Adult
Children under 12

Explore with The Explorations Company

By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017

Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...

View Forward facing arrow

Our Guarantees To You

Premium service from one of the world's most knowledgeable travel companies

24/7 contact number

Your holiday is fully protected by the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018

Flight-Inclusive Bonding: We are licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority and hold ATOL Number 7159

Flight-Exclusive bonding: Your holiday is further protected by our membership of ABTOT Membership Number 5197

logo