If cities are shining with talent abound, it is quite natural because of the facilities available in them. But if a village has to excel and stand in the forefront with buzzing economic activity, it is like a light shining in pitch darkness. One such village is Athangudi, in Shivagagai District of Tamilnadu, India.
There are thousands of villages in Indian soil. There are numerous ones worth remembering because of their geographical position and a good number because of their significant role and participation in Nation Building.
Athangudi tiles, named after the place of manufacture in Chettinad, Tamil Nadu, come in myriad colors and patterns and are made by a unique process using local soil. These tiles are a testimony to the rich cultural heritage of the Chettiar community, who effectively adapted many influences to their own brand of local craftsmanship. The designs and colors used in Athangudi Tiles are still those of a bygone era. However, off late new designs and patters are being incorporated.
The artisans say the charisma of these tiles is due to the sand, which is of just the right composition.
The Athangudi tiles are hand-made. Even before invasion of mechanized making of floor tiles such as ceramic, vitrified, marble and granites,these flowering tiles of Athangudi were a match of its own class and they competed with imported ones of Japan and Italy.
However, having little shelf life and relatively slow manufacturing process, these tiles are not much in demand. The situation has led to the decline in the market. Athangudi tiles need revival. It needs support and encouragement.
Hope this rich cultural heritage is not lost in times to come.