Monday, March 30, 2009

NAGARATHAR's HERITAGE (NATTU KOTTAI CHETTIYAR)



























NAGARATHAR HERITAGE
By
ARUN KANNAN



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Introduction:
People belonging to Nattukottai chettiyar community are called NAGARATHAR. The place where they live is called as CHETTINAD. Nagarathar community is famous for their nature of receiving relatives, well wishers and out sider’s to their houses. They are known for their well behaved manners, dedication to work, doing any activity with consciousness involvement in public utility services and worshipping god. Some of the contributions given by the Nagarathar community to the important informations about Nagarathar community and their culture are presented in the following manner.

Where does Today’s NAGARATHAR community stand and where will be the community be in 50years from now?
In India very few Community will be declared and registered as a Forward Community by Indian Government, Our community is an oldest one which emerged in 700 A.D itself. Which has been declared as forward community, our culture is popular in world heritage because of our humanity, sincerity, honesty, prosperity, food types, architectural designs and our views.
25-sqkm in CHETTINAD it provides an immense treat in terms of lifestyle and a range of experiences. Chettinad's palatial buildings and nine famous temples are spread over 96 villages including Kanadukathan. Which is known for its tourism.All almost all houses in the villages stand out with their front elevation, beautifully-carved pillars, meticulously planned interiors and colourfully-painted buildings. Many of the creatively designed houses are 75-150 years old. Ancient sculptures clearly say about our history through the ‘sundaikadu velankudi’ sculpture scenarios which is the best evidence of nagathar’s life style.
One of the main example for our culture is the Chettinad palace, The Chettinad palace at Kanadukathan, built in 1912, symbolises the exquisiteness of architectural marvels, woodwork and ancient lighting, besides the cultural ethos of the region. All homes have one to three `Vittam', or the inner pillared courtyard. Italian glossy tiles have been used on walls and ceilings. Burma teak, granite pillars, stained glass, artistic grills and such exquisite materials used in the buildings speak volumes of the quality and lifestyle of its owners and the skilled workforce. In these houses are numerous windows and very high ceilings. There is one house at Karaikudi which boasts of 1,000 windows. Most of these buildings remain intact. They have been well-maintained, with the antiques still shining in all their glory.
"Chettinad is really the richest heritage destination of South India and throughout the world, with a variety of homes. One cannot see such marvellous heritage buildings in a place that too in large numbers except in Chettinad”. It is a real treat to the eyes and a lifetime experience to foreign tourists,"-says Mr.Saktikanta Das, Tourism Secretary of India.

NAGARATHAR’S WORSHIP:
Nagarathar are well known to the world for their worship and devotion to God “Nagarathar save Vedas and build more Temples for worship”-Says Kanchi Sri Chandrasekaraswamigal.
Nagarathar have built lot of temples in very accurate manner by using vasthu sastra. Nagarathar are classified in to groups called as ‘Koil’ and worship their respective Lord in their native place. Special mention should be made regarding the availability of Nagarathar trust from KASI to RAMESWARAM.

NAGARATHAR’S TRADE:
Nagarathar are the first community to go across all the continents in the world for trade. Many of the trade were being created and modified by our people with their creative thinking. In the past, chettiyars went abroad to places like Burma, Thailand, Sumatra Island, Malaysia (Malaya), Singapore for trade through ship. Presently our Nagarathar have proven their strength in various fields and Medias.

NAGARATHAR’S MARRIAGE:
Our Nagarathar’s Marriage is a best example for all the communities because the marriage ceremony happens totally 10 days in olden days, but now it has reduced step by step to couple of days. All the relatives and friends meet in their native with their family and share their happiest moments with relatives and neighbours on the day. But presently, all people don’t have much time to spend with relatives. Hence recently the marriage time has further reduced to one day.

NAGARATHAR’S EDUCATIONAL SERVICE:
Nagarathar have contributed a lot in the field of education. This has been started from 19th century onwards, Dr.Raja Sir.ANNAMALAI Chettiyar the founder of ANNAMALAI University and Dr.ALAGAPPA Chettiyar the founder of ALAGAPPA UNIVERSITY have served a lot to education which has reached all over the world. Both universities are one of the best universities in Distance Education and well equipped to serve to the people in various educational levels through out the nation.

We Are Now in…
Our community takes part in all the session of important issues and we have very powerful Medias in our hands, monthly reviews and worship groups, (VALZHIPATTU KULZHU) Nagarathar sangams in India and so on. Some festivals are also celebrated group wise by our people and make a PATHA YATRA to ancient temples together. Our Media such as Nagarathar malar, Nagarathar Kural,Nagarathar Ethal,NagaraMalar,Achi Vandachu,Nagarathar Murasu,Poocharam,Karpagam, Senduram,Illachiyam,Valluvam and websites of our communities like Nagarathar.com,Nagaratharkalyanam.com,Achi.org etc.helps to know our people’s aspiration and their views in various fields.

What should we do now to preserve our culture and community?
"Chettinad is nearly to Tiruchi, Madurai and Thanjavur, known for their historical background and which are well connected by rail and air. If some permanent arrangements are made for providing entertainment, it will soon attract world tourist’s attraction, Sensing the commercial potential, some leading hoteliers have come forward to convert the houses into heritage hotels. It is hard to convince the owners to sell or lease their houses. But some promoters have brought them round. The Raja palace, one of the most beautiful heritage houses of Chettinad, is now open to all. If the conversion process becomes possible, Chettinad would figure in the tourist itinerary of heritage lovers. There is no proper bus rote and bus service to Chettinad from Karaikudi and around thirumayam itself .Our community is a one and only community to have a lot of NRI people throughout the world. Finally we have to preserve our culture and community through computer based tutorials (CBT).If we can do this, younger generation will know, what is the reality of our community and how it survives through the people. Finally, the point that is being insisted is presented in the form of the following words.
“THINK- DEVELOPE -PRESERVE “Development of our community and its culture is in our hands, we all should be proud to be part and parcel of our community.




AUTHOUR

ARUNKANNAN
NAGARATHAR HERITAGE






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