The story of Chettinad was written by the Chettiars, who were originally gem and salt merchants. The most significant aspect of that era were the homes, which are a unique combination of western and eastern sensibilities. Needless to say, the palaces and houses in this little corner in southern India can give Rajasthan a run for its money. The Chettinad Heritage Museum carries on the unique lifestyle of the Chettiars and is considered a heritage home by many.
Visit the Chettinad Palace, which was builtin 1912 by Dr Annamali Chettiyar. While travelling one comes across temples at every turn as religion is a central part of life in the region. Some of the famous temples are Vairavan Temple, Karpaga Vinayakar Temple, Kundrakudi Murugan Temple, Kottaiyur Sivan Temple and Kandanur Sivan Temple. Also, visit the few families that make Athangudi tiles, which have found customers all over India and are growing in popularity.
♦ Visit Nattukotais (countyside fort in Tamil), the huge mansions of Chettinad which are bound to intrigue you.
♦ Offer your prayers at the nine clan temples which are spread within a 25-km radius.
♦ Visit the ma kers of th e Atha ngu di ti I es.
♦ See Chettinad art, artefacts and antiques.
♦ Visit the majestic Meenakshi Temple in Madurai (90 km from Karaikudi).
The nearest airports are Tiruchirapalii and Madurai, both 90 km away. Overnight trains connect Chennai with Karaikudi. Karaikudi is eight-nine hours’ drive from Bengaluru.
The Bangala in Karaikudi, Chettinad Court in Kanadukathan village, 12 km from Karaikudi, and Chettjnadu Mansion in Kanadukathan village.