About Chettinad

Chettinad - land (nadu) of the Chettiars

Located in the Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, Chettinad Showcases the rich heritage, striking art and grand architecture of the state. Apart from being known as a temple town, the Chettinad Cuisine is the most renowned in the repertoire of Tamil Nadu. The word "Chetti" is a Sanskrit term meaning wealth. It is derived from the original traders of the region who dealt in salt and spices for marbles and other decorative items used in the construction of their properties. It has an elaborately vibrant culture and an over the top extortionate township comprising of ridiculously opulent mansions, palatial homes, magnificent temples and fascinating museums.

Popular Places In Chettinad

Chettinad comprises mainly a town known as Karaikudi and a cluster of 96 surrounding villages. The city has, perhaps, the most elaborate and rich culture and some truly fascinating traditions. The place is very much in India, but it dances to its tunes. There are temples, palaces, museums, fantastic food and everything else you will wish for in a vacation. This place will still stay in your memory for its incredible history and the truly memorable experience.

1. Chettinad Palace

Located in the Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, the majestic architecture of Chettinad Palace is a beautiful example of the indigenous Chettinad architecture. Adorned with embellishments from all over the world, this mighty edifice dates back to the year 1912. The construction style of the palace also reflects some European influence, which only adds to the regal beauty of the palace. The establishment was built under the guidance of Dr Annamalai Chettiyar, founder of the Indian Bank and the Annamalai University.

The august grandeur of the Chettinad Palace is only enhanced by the vast expanses of lush greens surrounding it. Perched within the bounds of a carefully cultivated garden area, the palace is a sight to sore eyes. Once you recover from the breathtaking beauty of the natural surroundings, the ravishing architecture of the palace will enchant you with its charm. Carved with careful intricacy, the palace is a combination of detailing and opulence. The palace also houses a number of figurines which will effortlessly transport you back to the pages of history. A marvellous edifice, the palace is a sumptuous experience for all.

2. Chettinad Museum

The Chettinad Museum is a heritage home. The main reason of converting it into a museum, open to guests was to show them the unique Chettinad style of living.

The place is full of heavy clothes, traditional gold jewellery, utensils, metal cutlery, huge copper water vats and grain bins and various other everyday items that reflect how these people go about their daily routines.

3. Chettinadu Mansion

Chettinadu Mansion is a heritage resort located in Kanadukathan which is over 100 years old and has been opened to the public as a resort for quite some years now. It is still a very well maintained heritage resort and is a perfect place for the ones who wish to experience the bygone times of Chettinad. The old age charm and the architecture are still intact. There are about 12 rooms which are rented out to tourists who wish to stay in the mansion. They offer complete privacy, comfortable stay and serve delicious Chettinad Cuisine to all their guests. Although traditional, the Chettinadu Mansion maintains an informal vibe for the guests to make them feel comfortable and welcome.

The opulent mansion has rooms with traditional Chettinad architecture that draws architecture enthusiasts from all over the world. Right from the entrance to the innermost room, it is a majestic structure with expansive courtyards, the corridors and the living and recreational areas. They also arrange for activities that tourists can enjoy while they are miles away from their chaotic and stressful lifestyles. Many are awestruck by the simplicity and its unique charm. Several Bollywood and Tollywood movies have been shot here. One can also explore the little museum they maintain here and also give demonstrations to introduce tourists to the cooking styles and ingredients of Chettinad.

4. Soorakudi

The Soorakudi temple is on the outskirts of the city, about 10 km from Karaikudi on the road to Kanadukathaan and the Chettinad railway station. The beautiful temple gets its name from the Soorai shrub, a medicinal plant that grows here.

The temple has ten vimanams and two gopurams. The sculptures, including the idols of the diety are beautiful decorated and intricately carved. The local people here have very high regard for these sculptors, and they believe that they have supernatural powers.

5. Vairavanpatti

The second temple of the seven is the Vairavanpatti Temple. Built in 19th century, the temple has numerous tales attached to it. The main deities worshipped here are Lord Aatkondanathar and Sivapurandevi.

The temple is full of paintings from Ramayana and Mahabharata. There is a natural spring behind the temple, which is believed to have miraculous healing properties. The temple is 15 kms from the city.

6. Pillaiyarpatti

Named after the Lord Ganesha, the small town of Pillaiyarpatti is famous for the Pillaiyarpatti Karpaga Vinayakar Temple dedicated to the Hindu deity of knowledge and wisdom. In Tamil, Pillaiyar refers to Ganesha. The ancient rock-cut temple is a majestic testament to early Pandyan architecture, and the temple is said to have undergone three stages of growth throughout its history. The town is situated 70 kilometres north-east of Madurai, close to the heritage town of Karaikudi on the state highway 35. The temple building is mainly for its masterful sculpture work, elegant temple complex and a well-adorned shrine, and has fascinated hundreds of thousands of tourists and pilgrims since centuries. With detailed carvings adorning the exterior of the structure, the Pillaiyarpatti Temple makes up for an enchanting view.

The approximately 15 historical inscriptions found in the temple haven't been able to establish a definitive age although approximations date it back more than 1500 years since the erection of the first component in the vast structure. The chief deity in the temple is a bas-relief (a relief sculpture in which the figures project slightly from the background) carved out of a hillock in an excavated cave in the temple premises, an image of Karpaka Vinayagar (Lord Ganesh) which is a colossal 6 feet tall. Festivities and grand celebrations take place during Ganesh Chaturthi and is an amazing sight. The original temple is a Shiva temple and only became famous as a Ganesha temple over the course of time. Another unique feature of this shrine is that here, Lord Vinayaga appears with two hands, unlike other places where He appears with four hands. Being one of the oldest rock cut temples in the state of Tamil Nadu, it is the proof of brilliant craftsmanship and engineering of a bygone era.

7. Ilayathangudi

Chettinad has seven temples, shared by the nine village clusters found around Karaikudi. Ilayathangudi is the first clan temple. The temple is about 25 km from the main village.

It is believed that the temple ground served as the resting place for the Lords, when they travelled in this region, thousands of years ago.