Think patterned tiles and the first thing that rushes to mind is the Athangudi tiles of Tamil Nadu. On the outskirts of Sivaganga district in Tamil Nadu, there is a village that is renowned for being home for its art of tile making. A 500-year-old craft thrives in the village of Athangudi where the tiles are handcrafted. Christened the Athangudi tiles, these eco-friendly tiles with their exotic patterns and intricate designs are in huge demand both in the local and international markets.
The Athangudi tiles reflect the culture of the land and the artistry of the craftsmen of the village. The tiles are created after a rigorous process of mixing sand, cement and belly jelly. Since they are prepared on a glass plate, they have a smooth and glossy finish. Creating these tiles is time-consuming as they are handmade. While most artisans use template-based patterns, some even create freehand designs. The Athangudi tiles are available in a range of patterns such as geometric and floral and mostly uses shades of green, blue, red and grey. The tiles are created from the sand available in Athangudi which is highly unique. The artisans believe that the local soil sets these tiles apart. The high laterite content in the soil ensures that the tiles shine on for a longer period and do not lose their sheen. These tiles are used to adorn the walls and the floors of houses. The tile making is also sustainable as it doesn't involve the use of electricity.