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The Kottan

The Palmyra Basket of Chettinad

Visalakshi Ramaswamy


The Kottan: The Palmyra Basket of Chettinad not only showcases the finest basket weaving tradition of the region, but also serves as an important record of the traditional techniques of kottan basketry that were languishing for decades – till Visalakshi Ramaswamy took it upon herself to revive the craft.


The book explores the journey of the beautiful Kottan from its role as a hobby craft in the Chettiar community, to its disappearance and revival. It brings out the history of the Kottan and its traditional uses, details the weaving process and materials, and includes comprehensive design documentation that gives the book archival status. The intensive revival process and the circumstances of the craftspeople of today complete the story of the Kottan.


The book is organized into ten richly illustrated chapters, complete with accompanying text and line drawings of the basket making process, a glossary, and over five hundred colour illustrations of traditional and contemporary baskets. The book is a must-read for anyone with an interest in craft, culture and design, and will be indispensable to craftspeople, academics and designers alike.


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The Chettinad Cookbook

Visalakshi Ramaswamy & Meyyammai Murugappan


The Chettinad Cookbook is a collection of memories - of family celebrations, colourful food and wonderful aromas.


Neatly divided into chapters and sorted according to type and preference, The Chettinad Cookbook caters to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Beautiful hand rendered illustrations capture the soul of the Chettiar kitchen, bringing to life the storerooms and the traditional and unique cooking tools and utensils.

The entire Chettiar culinary repertoire has been compiled into eleven chapters containing 276 recipes accompanied by photographs and illustrations.

Simple step-by-step instructions ensure that even first-time cooks find the recipes easy to follow, and the glossary at the end of the book provides easy reference to those unfamiliar with the Tamil vernacular names for various ingredients.

Chettinad cuisine is a part of living tradition, a tradition that is slowly giving way to microwaveable meals and pre-cooked food. With its uncomplicated format and detail, this book hopes to rekindle an interest in traditional home-cooked food.

The Chettiar Heritage

S. Muthiah, Meenakshi Meyyappan & Visalakshi Ramaswamy


The Chettiar Heritage records in word and picture the past and present of the Chettiars and Chettinad in South India. It provides as comprehensive a pictorial records as possible, supported with explanatory text, to remind Chettiars in India and the increasing numbers living abroad of their rich heritage.

The text is brief, and the focus of the book is to create a pictorial record. Over 800 brilliant and colourful photos reveal a picture of the community few know about. The Chettiar Heritage is a document for posterity, providing a glimpse of the social, cultural and economic life of a unique community whose lifestyle is spoken of in awed terms in South India.

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Available in English & Tamil


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