An exposure of polyphase, Neoarchaean–early Palaeoproterozoic basement rocks has been identified in the northeastern part (10°53·44'N, 78°22·88'E) of the Madurai Province. The dominant migmatitic charnockite contains older enclaves of isoclinally folded syenitic biotite gneiss and boudinaged mafic dykes. A highly evolved (Mg# 10) and high field strength element (HFSE) + rare earth element (REE)-enriched ferroan basic dyke body exhibits a distinct mineralogical zonation produced during intense syn-boudinage infiltration metasomatism, coeval with high-grade metamorphism and anatexis of the host charnockite. Core domains that preserve an anhydrous granulite assemblage (domain A: garnet, clinopyroxene and minor plagioclase) grade through a narrow mineralogical transition zone (domain B) into a broad amphibole-rich rind (domain C: ferropargasite + K-feldspar ± plagioclase, quartz). Pseudosection modelling and thermobarometry yields P – T estimates of ~800 °C, 8 kbar for the granulite-facies metamorphism (M 1 ) and ~730 °C, 7 kbar for the high-grade metasomatism (M 2 ). The changes in fabric, mineral assemblage and whole-rock chemistry across domains A to C reveal near-isovolumetric–isochoric conditions of infiltration-driven metasomatism and an unusual enrichment in large ion lithophile elements (LILE), REE, and HFSE, causing prolific neoblastesis of apatite and zircon, and attest attainment of chemical equilibrium. Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) trace element analyses for major constituents and accessory phases in the metasomatic domains provide a new set of equilibrium distribution coefficients for the REE. LA-ICP-MS spot analyses of zircon in well-documented microstructural settings identified the following events: ~2·67 Ga: intrusions of foid-bearing syenite and ferroan basic dykes during crustal extension; ~2·6 Ga: high-grade metamorphism M 1 ; ~2·6 Ga: emplacement of voluminous arc-type intrusions (the protolith of charnockite); ~2·48 Ga: high-grade metamorphism and anatexis M 2 of the charnockite protolith and metasomatism of the ferroan metabasite. A distinct Pan-African overprint (M 3 , ~610 Ma, 520 Ma) of the Palaeoproterozoic high-pressure rocks is manifested by hydration related to the exhumation of the deep-seated granulites to mid-crustal levels. This study confirms the continuation of Neoarchaean crust farther south beyond the perceived Palghat Cauvery shear zone system and contradicts the view that this shear zone system represents the Neoproterozoic–Cambrian suture zone along which the Mozambique Ocean was closed.