Crafts of India : Athangudi Tiles

Chettinad, homeland of the Nattukotai Chettiyars, is a cultural and culinary hub of south India. With its delectable cuisine, magnificent temples and intricately built mansions, Chettinad has much to offer those interested in art, architecture, and food.

karthik18   architect banner

Here in Chettinad is a village known for its contribution to traditional 18th century Chettiyar mansions—where the courtyards and spacious rooms are adorned with works of art. Athangudi village, in the Shivagagai district of Chettinad, Tamil Nadu, is an enterprising area where tile making has become a trademark local craft.

athangudi style tiles BHARAT FLOORINGS6

Earlier, when affluent Chettiyars imported tiles from the European nations, it was found that they were difficult to repair after wear and tear from aging. Repairs were expensive due to non-availability of spare tiles. It was then that the people of Athangudi set up this cottage industry to make replicas of imported tiles in more vibrant colours and designs. It was not long before the village began to thrive and became one of the most renowned hubs of tile production in India.


The Athangudi tiles are entirely hand-made, with white cement, sand, and pigments. Cement, baby jelly, and sand along with synthetic oxides define the composition.

shenbaga vilasam - 013

Commonly found in Chettinad houses, The tiles are cast from locally available clay that is burnt and glazed. Colours are mixed with white cement and poured using a mould on a glass base, which helps give the tile a smooth surface and sheen. After the design is packed with cement, it is left to dry in the sun and then cured in water for a couple of days before being sun-dried again. The laying process involves a special technique and the use of sand, cement, and lime. Masons are trained to deftly place the tiles at exactly the right level, allowing for variations in the tile thickness and weight, without camouflaging the imperfections of how they are laid.

athangudi tiles

Karthik Vaidyanathan’s home

The tiles are mostly a play of colours with geometric patterns and line drawings, sometimes just plain colours, or conventional floral patterns. The designs and the colours are what set them apart from regular ceramic market tiles. Though they need not be machine polished, to preserve its original sheen it is best to rub them down with husk and later follow with a mop soaked with a few drops of coconut oil.

wardrobe design JYOTHIKA BALERI5

The tiles are known to age beautifully and tend to gain sheen as one keeps walking on them. Even the fissures that develop in such handmade tiles add to the beauty of this type of flooring and complete the antique look that most homeowners aim to achieve with these tiles. However, it is recommended that heavy objects are not placed on such floorings due to the lack of compact layers.

flooring design shenbaga vilasam - 020

Dark earthy colours and a black and white border are the traditional Chettinad style of assembling these tiles, but even those looking for more colour and personalised designs will not be disappointed.

A beautiful Annapakshi motif in these tiles, in the living room or even in a courtyard, can add much grandeur and visual appeal to any home.

For those looking to keep it simple, try a red Athangudi tiled floor with minimal furniture and bright wall décor.

flooring design shenbaga vilasam - 030

However, owing to heavy competition in the market from vitrified, ceramic and other tiles, coupled with a relatively slow manufacturing process, Athangudi tiles have faced a steep drop in demand and are in great need of support and encouragement.

If nothing else, these tiles are memories of a bygone era and testimony to the great skills and craftsmanship that the Chettiyar Community propagated back in the day.

For those looking to spruce up their homes in the newly fashionable ‘old fashioned’ way, Athangudi tiles should definitely top the list.

31 responses to “Crafts of India : Athangudi Tiles”

  1. shamseer says:

    I like this type traditional tiles. I would like to lay these in my home. do you have any agencies in kerala

  2. Doss Joseph says:

    Am from Athangudi Soosaiyapillai Tiles and Chettinad Timber.
    Proudly says that we are into 3rd generation.

    Landmark: Near IOB bank,Athangudi-630101,Sivaganga District.
    WhatsApp: 9962024243
    If any clarification please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  3. Mahendra says:


    I am the founder of “Dyes N Hues” , a startup venturing into traditional tiles , floorings and roofings.

    I can provide services in the procurement and installation of traditional tiles.

    I am based in Bangalore. I can also provide advice , free of charge ( with no conditions) , if you don’t want to buy the services.


  4. Reena says:

    I would like to get Athangudi tiles in chennai

  5. ryan says:

    Dear Aruna

    I am planing to order these tiles and would really appreciate if you could share the name of the supplier you had very bad time with so that we don’t get trapped too. Thanks in advance.

  6. where is the showrooms in Bangalore

  7. ahmad khibari says:

    Please answer my questions
    -Raw materials respectively, which is
    -Do I need to have on the separator template

  8. Rajeesh says:

    I am Rajeesh from kerala.I want to know the delivery details of athamkudi tiles in e-mail id is

  9. mathew says:

    I need your athangudi tile i planed to put this tile in home .am from kumily,thekkady ,kerala ,if possible to avilable here 00919947830196 this is my no pls contact me

  10. Audra says:

    Ϝeel free to surf to my web site … ԁesigns modern homes

  11. Sapna says:

    Hello Karthik

    Pictures of your home are awesome. I especially liked the dwarf walls with pillars. I thought of making something similar at our home. Should we set the pillar top and bottom during plastering time or can we do it later ?

    A second question is regarding Athangudi tiles. We live in Coimbatore and are wondering about whether the tiles are apt for climatic conditions in Coimbatore. The soil is clay and many are dissuading us from using it. However, both of us love the feel of the hand made tiles. Any inputs in this regard would be very helpful for us in our decisions.

    Have a great evening.


  12. Sapna says:

    Hello Karthik

    Pictures of your home are awesome. I especially liked the dwarf walls with pillars. I thought of making something similar at our home. Should we set the pillar top and bottom during plastering time or can we do it later ?

    A second question is regarding use of Athangudi tiles. We live in Coimbatore and are wondering about whether the tiles are apt for climatic conditions in Coimbatore. The soil is clay and many are dissuading us from using it. However, both of us love the feel of the hand made tiles. Any inputs in this regard would be very helpful for us in our decisions.

    Have a great evening.


  13. Baser says:

    Yeah, motif and design give inspiration how to use ceramic tile….

  14. Aruna says:


    Sorry. I just saw your message. The number of the tile layer is +918344306804.

    • Shanti says:

      Thanks Aruna for this contact. I have been left high and dry by my athangudi designers and your contact has given me huge relief. I spoke to Rajkumar now and he has agreed to take on the project of tile laying! Thank you again for this!

    • Shanti says:

      Aruna, I just sent you a message thanking you for contact. Could you give me your contact number (email id) so I can write to you to discuss what I should pay Rajkumar etc? He said he could take up the project in February.

      Kind regards,


  15. S RamaDevi says:

    Please send me athangudi tiles designs. With borders

  16. Aks says:

    We ordered Athangudi tiles from AthangudiPalace (Mr Subramaniam) and are not happy with the service at all. The dealer sounds very genuine and helpful in teh beginning. When he receive most of the payment is when he started showing true colors. I would not suggest this dealer..unless you visit the place and place an order in person

  17. ms says:

    for genuine athangudi tiles and expert laying, please contact the M.RM.RM. CULTURAL FOUNDATION based in chettinad, with an office in chennai.
    it is run by mrs. visalakshi ramaswami who, along with other members of her family, is instrumental in reviving chettinad crafts. she is largely responsible for the revival of interest in athangudi tiles too. i have ordered tiles from them – they send you designs and are particular that their trained craftsmen lay them for perfect results.

    here’s a link to their Facebook page

    here is a link to a website with information about them

    and don’t forget to check out their store ‘manjal’ for genuine chettinad crafts. here’s a link

  18. Aruna says:

    Beware…Athankudi Tiles lovers. I live in Chennai and was very interested to lay Athankudi Tiles for our house. I saw a vendor who almost had branded his company in all sites and blogs about Athankudi tiles. I spoke to him over the phone and told my exact need. He sounded great and got the order. He also asked me to place the order as early as possible so that there would not be any delay in delivery. He promised to deliver the tiles at my site and gave many promises to send laying person to lay it properly. He insisted on getting the payment to commence work. I spoke to my relative and arranged to make the payment. However after receiving the payment his attitude changed. He promised nearly four times to deliver on some dates. I followed religiously as our house warming date was nearing. Finally he started to accuse me for following him. Then he said he would deliver it on a certain date. That day morning I got a call from the private bus office asking me to collect the package. When I called the vendor he first refused to pick the call and then finally picked and said that he had delivered and that’s all he could do. I had to pay delivery cost in addition to loading and unloading at the bus station, delivery cost to my site and again one more unloading charges from my pocket. Further, I could not get proper person to lay the tiles, which is the key. Finally I managed to bring skilled person through my relative and finished the job. I understand that these are hand made tiles and sometimes would require extra days. But these vendors give lot of promises and false deadlines. Moreover the person did not deliver the skirting tiles for which the actual order was placed. He sent something else.

    Though some of the vendors send quotes through mail and get confirmation and pretend very professional, actually they are not. They give a lot of false promises and leave you uncared after getting the money. Iam not mentioning the persons name here for the only reason that there are many artisans who would be working under this person and this could affect them. So be very very careful with your terms. Get all the terms done properly, check all the promises they make. Also have a plan B when they fail to deliver. Beaware !

    • Dhranidhar says:

      Hi Aruna, I am in the same boat now….my vendor could not get the laying person and could not promise any date. We have planned to go ahead with house warming without flooring. We have no choice now.
      I would really appreciate if you could share the laying person contact number to me.

      Thanks a lot in advance.


      • Ms Harsha B says:

        Hi Aruna and R. Dharanidhar,

        Same here. Total chaos with the tiles. Need a skilled mason to lay the tiles immediately.Can you help please?


    • Ramesh Ahuja says:

      Hello Ms Aruna,
      Am from Mumbai and have taken up renovation of my home. Can I call you or email you regarding some information on Athangudi tiles. My email id is and cell no +9967436161.

      Best regards

      Ramesh Ahuja

    • Noufel says:

      I too trapped by one of the vendor, Lachmi Flower tiles, Senthil Kumar. He said he will send the mason and he never did that. Finally we laid it using the regular tiles laying person.
      Very careful in dealing with Athankudi Tiles people. We felt, they are poor and dont cheat any one. But its the otherway. Thanks Noufel 9845128760, Bangalore

    • Mayur says:

      Hi Aruna, Could you please give the name of the vendor so that the rest of us are spared of such cheaters. I too am planning to order from a Chennai vendor and am scared after reading your story. Please share the name of the Vendor…..if not in public, then to my private email at Thanks a ton! Mayur

  19. kk says:

    r these custom made too??? can any different design be incorporated??

  20. hemant Gaekwad says:

    wow. the flooring looks great. is it very expensive ? available in maharashtra ?

  21. Greetings from Athangudi palace tiles…..
    I like to introduce myself as a manufacturer of Athangudi Tiles.
    I am delighted to know your interest in Athangudi Tiles &
    I invite you to have a glance of my site.
    I am pretty sure that your search for traditional interiors
    ranging from Tiles, Pillars, Doors, Windows, decorative
    household items will end up here.
    I am a manufacturer of Athangudi Tiles,
    my manufacturing unit is in Athangudi itself .
    My company’s name is athangudi palace tiles.
    pls call.9442228331,9442229331.
    211,PRG. Garden, Athangudi main road,
    Cokkalingampudur,karaikudi.TK.630101, sivagangai district ,
    Tamil nadu ,South,,
    Visit:: http/

    • urvashi arora says:

      we want to put athangudi tiles at our home. we are in New Delhi. would it be possible for you to take up this project at delhi?

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