Chettinad is a place of charms, located in the Sivaganga district of the Tamil Nadu state. Chettinad is the native soil of the Nattukottai Chettiars called the Nagarathars, are a prosperous banking and business community. Chettinad comprises of 74 villages and Karaikudi is its capital and is famous for its Temples, Chettinad cuisine, decorated Mansions. Chettinad is a place of extraordinary charm, and a must visit of tourist's destination.
PLACES TO SEE
Chettinad, a place known for mansions, cuisines, temples and saris, is an attractive town in district of Sivaganga, the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Athmanathaswamy temple, built during 10th century, is a famous temple in Chettinad region. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and historically related to the life of Shiva devotee saint Manickavasagar. The temple displays graceful life-size sculptures. The granite roof of the temple is very attractive.
Chettiar Clan Temple
Chettinad, a district of Tamil Nadu is popular for its delicious Chettinad cuisine. The popular native people were the Nattukottai Chettiars of that place. They are also known as the Nagarathar. These people made different colossal and ornamental mansions, which are now a part of the heritage centers of Tamil Nadu. The sense of decoration in the Chettiars is visible through their temples and homes. For the Chettiar community there are total nine clan temples, family temples. The temples are in the nine clusters of the villages forming the Chettinad. The clan temples are granted by the Pandya Kings. The nine Chettiar Clan temples are at Velankudi, Soorakudi, Nemam, Vairavanpatti, Ilayathangudi, Iranikoil, Pillaiyarpatti, Iluppakudi and Mathur. The numerous festivals and rituals of the Chettiars strengthen the bond among the native inhabitants. People of a clan temple or a family gather from far and wide to participate in the festivals.
Karaikudi is a city in Tamilnadu the homeland of Nattukotai Chettiars who have made beautiful extravagant houses which explode in a profusion of colour. The streets of Kanadukathan are lined by these vast mansions some in evident decay, padlocked and empty with now being converted into heritage hotels. Most of the Chettiyars Mansion in Chettinad consists of thousands of windows, hundreds of wooden pillars, door frames with Gajalakshmi who symbolize Goddess of wealth and a Kumbam, brass pot, with sprouting leaves engraved on them to symbolize wealth. Some buildings have a scene-by-scene narration of Mahabharata and Ramayana in its wooden panels and walls. Intricately carved doors in Burma Teak, Carved stone & wooden pillars and beams, Handmade Athungudi floor tiles, Carved wooden furniture with antique tiles, Antique furniture, enamel, lacquer & wooden vessels from Burma, Srilanka, and Malaysia etc are few features and attraction of Chettiar Mansion.
Karpaka Vinayakar Shrine at Pillayarpatti near Karaikkudi is one of the oldest, the inscriptions at Pillayarpatti date back to the 4th century AD, cave temples in TamilNadu with rock cut image of deity Ganesha. This city of Pillaiyarpatti is named following 'Pillayar' - the Tamil name for Ganesha, and Karpaka Vinayakar is the presiding god here and is portrayed with two arms and a trunk curled towards his right in the valampuri mode. This 6 feet tall mammoth image of Ganesha is a bas relief in an excavated cave, off of a hill in the precincts of the temple. In a similar manner Tiruveesar is a Shiva Lingam carved. Other deities Marudankudi Eesar and his consort Vaadaamalar Mangai include in the temple. Ganesh Chaturti the grandest of festivals is in the month of Aug - September, where a ten day celebration brings much vivacity to this temple town.
HOW TO REACH
The nearest airport is Madurai, which is 90 kms from Chettinad. One can take direct flights from Madurai to Chennai.
Karaikudi is the main railway station, which connects Chettinad with Chennai and other major cities in TamilNadu.
Karaikudi is well connected by the national highways 45 and 210 with Madurai, Trichy, Tanjore and Chennai.
The best time to take a tour to Chettinad is from October to March. Summers are really hot in Chettinad so it should be avoided during that time.