South India is known for its cute villages, its simple people and their lifestyle. As an experience destination South Indian villages play a big role in giving real life experiences to its visitors. Chettinad is a common name used for a cluster few unique villages in Karaikudi in Tamilnadu.
Chettinad is the homeland of the Nattukottai Chettiars , a prosperous banking andbusiness community, many of whose members migrated to South and Southeast Asia, in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today there is a diaspora of Chettinad people, who live in the USA, Singapore, Malaysia, among other places.Chettinad is well known for its Chettinad cuisine, Mansions, and Temples. Chettinad is rich in cultural heritage, art and architecture, and is well known for its houses, embellished with marble and Burma teak, wide courtyards, spacious rooms, and for its 18th century mansions. Local legend has it that their walls used to be polished with a paste made out of eggwhites to give a smooth texture.
Chettinadu Palace and the artisan’s village, Athangudi where a unique kind of floor tiles are made manually are of worth visiting.You will also fina the old chettiar mansions,local saree weaving house,local markets and a street with antique shop etc.Your visits can be on bicycle or on bullock carts.You may also be in the Chettinad kitchen to learn one of the unique dishes.The accommodations in Chettinad Village are all with the Mansions converted as heritage hotels where the staff all will join as a family and you will also one among the family.
No Chettinad experience is complete without a visit to the streets lined by palatial homes. Many of them are uninhabited today,their owners having moved on with the times.But they stand proud,unbending to the vagaries of time,along with a few other reminders of a glorious era.Like the weekly santhai (market),the Raja’s special waiting room at the local railway station,the sari weaving centres,the tile manufacturing units at Athangudi and the many temples-the latter,an integral part of every Chettinad family.
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