Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Dec 15, 2003

About Us
Contact Us
Metro Plus Bangalore Published on Mondays & Thursdays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

Laying the groundwork

The traditional art of making handmade tiles has come all the way from the remote Attangudi in Tamil Nadu to Bangalore



The traditional art of making handmade tiles has come all the way from the remote Attangudi in Tamil Nadu to Bangalore

HAVING A house with cement floors was a luxury some 50 years ago. Red oxide, mosaic tiles, and marble came into fashion later. The more affluent now use special stones, which lend their houses an exclusive air.

But long before even mosaic tiles became fashionable, the people of a little village called Attangudi in Tamil Nadu had perfected the art of making decorative cement floor tiles. These tiles needed no special machines and not even baking, as the ingredient used was not clay, but sand and cement. Just bare hands, a clean glass, and a mould were enough. Certain designs didn't even need the mould.

But unfortunately, without a sustained market, this unique art is slowly dying out, with few youngsters taking to the family trade. There are logistical problems too. How is one, for instance, to transport them from the remote production centre to where a house is being built? So, K.S. Nair, proprietor, Anisha Engineering Enterprises, decided to bring the production unit down to where the market exists. And what better market than Bangalore, where ethnic styles are forever in great demand? To maintain authenticity, Mr. Nair brought trained workers all the way from Attangudi to Bangalore.

And Mr. Nair has put a few quality control measures in place to make these traditional tiles more market-friendly. "In Attangudi, as it is basically a cottage industry, the designs on the tiles are not consistent. They invariably differ from tile to tile. That is another reason why the village has failed to find a sustained market. Here, we maintain consistency in both shape and design," says Mr. Nair. The market response has been overwhelming.

The process of making these handmade tiles is fascinating. The mould of a design in placed on a piece of glass. Colours, synthetic or natural, are poured into the different compartments of the mould and spread evenly. A dry mix of sand and cement is then sprinkled on it, topped by a wet mixture of sand and cement. Once the tile is evenly laid, it is eased out of the mould and allowed to dry overnight. The next day, it is transferred to a water tank for curing. After two days, it is laid to dry. The duration of making a single tile takes typically seven to 10 days.


Red and yellow are the natural colours in which Attangudi tiles are made. But several other vibrant shades can be obtained by mixing colours. The more fascinating among the Attangudi tiles are those made without using moulds. It's deft fingers that work magic here, ensuring unique, and yet uniform, designs.

These exotic tiles, surprisingly, come at down-to-earth prices — approximately Rs. 25 per square foot. Equally low is the laying cost. Thus, you could have an entire flooring done at Rs. 40 per square foot, which includes the cost of the tile, transportation, and laying. And what is more, these tiles don't need polishing at any point in time. Just good old mopping would make it as good as new.

Given the new-found popularity of these traditional tiles, Mr. Nair plans to develop thinner tiles with more decorative features to cover the walls. "This way, its beauty can be better admired. Besides, there is a good market for it," he says. "This venture has given a new lease of life to a trade which was dwindling due to lack of access to the market," he adds.

Though the venture is only four years old, Mr. Nair already has big plans. If the demand is sustained, he intends to expand his business to Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

For more information, call 7833124/ 9845696338.

NANDHINI SUNDAR

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2003, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu