When it comes to visiting the best places inTamil Nadu, I have to put this region at the top. For no other reason than the fact that Chettinad tourism is a sensual delight. The bright Chettinad architecture, delicious Chettinad food, and fascinating heritage of its mansions and Chettinad temples will delight any visitor. I have shared many of these Karaikudi tourist sites in detail in recent posts. With all the appreciation I have received for them, there are frequently asked questions about tourism in Chettinad. Given the enthusiasm to get there, I answer it best via this guide to tourism in Chettinad.
About the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu
It's not surprising if you find your researchThe best activities in Chettinad include only Karaikudi tourist spots. The reason is that most people use the terms Chettinad and Karaikudi interchangeably. Technically, Chettinad refers to a region comprising 78 villages of Pudukkottai and Sivaganga districts in Tamil Nadu.Karaikudi is the main town of this region and is popularly considered as the capital of Chettinad. Given the fact that most of the landmarks in Chettinad are scattered in Karaikudi, they are popularly grouped together under the name of the town.
The Chettinad region is a perfect destination for architecture lovers, history buffs, culture vultures and foodies. And all this comes from the unique community of this region – the Nattukottai Chettiars.
Who are the Nattukottai Chettiars?
Chettiars is a term that refers to the trading community. Originally, this Chettiar community was located in the old capital of the Cholas called Poompuhar. The city was hit by a tsunami. Dem sweptChettiars had to relocate. In the drier highlands of Tamil Nadu, 96 new villages emerged and this new area became known as the Chettinad region. Since the entire community came from a large city, they were given a new name – Nagarathar ( people from a city).
With their keen business sense the Chettiars spread their trade across the seven seas. They soon became money lenders and bankers for kings and even the British East India Company. Their prosperity was reflected in the size of their houses. The Chettiar villas were no less than palaces. This gave them their new name – Nattukottai Chettiars – "Chettiars with forts on the ground".
Today, most Nattukottai Chettiarszog from the region Chettinad. They have long settled in the Southeast Asian countries or the major cities of India. However, the Chettinad region still remains their ancestral land where their rich food, culture and tradition thrive and delight visitors like us.
How to get to Chettinad?
The Chettinad region is well connected by road and rail to the rest of India. You can go to Karaikudi via Madurai or Thanjavur. Both routes are great for road trips from Bengaluru or Chennai. If you take the Madurai route, you can stop in Madurai and explore the Madurai Meenakshi Temple and Thirumalai Nayakar Palace.
If you want to take the route via Thanjavur andTrichy, then you must take time to cover Thanjavur Palace, Tanjore Temple and Sriranganthaswamy Temple in Trichy. There are many other sites along the way that you can visit if you have time.
Karaikudi has its own railroad station.If you have little time and do not really want to stop on the way, a train ride is convenient. Trichy and Madurai are the nearest airports to Chettinad. Both are almost equidistant from Karaikudi. You can land at either place and then either rent a car or take one of the many public buses to Karaikudi.
Where to stay in Chettinad?
Karaikudi, the main town of Chettinad, isMy recommended place to stay in Chettinad. There are many residential and cultural sites in Karaikudi. These are generally ancestral homes of the Chettiars. If you stay here, you can experience the culture of the place. The Bangala, Thapa Gardens and Chidambara Vilas are three houses I had considered visiting. However, they were not available on the dates of my trip and therefore I stayed at Chola Erbe. The hotel is modeled after a typical Chettiar house. Offers a comfortable stay. They have a limited kitchen that serves a truly delicious Chettinad breakfast and dinner.
Kanadukathan is the other village you canConsider for your Chettinad stay. I happened to visit the Chettinadu Mansion for lunch and stopped by to see their conditions of stay. It seemed quite comfortable and the only thing I can say you will love here – is the food!
What is the best time to visit Chettinad?
In terms of weather, the Chettinad region is quite warm all year round. Winters here are mild and hence it becomes a little pleasant to enjoy the various Karaikudi tourist attractions. The monsoons are not very heavy, so that one can enjoy Karaikudi also in August. I would say anytime from August to April is a good time to visit Chettinad.
If possible, it is a good idea to visit Chettinad during the harvest festival – Pongal. This takes place in January. Go on forfive days. This is actually the time when you can taste the best of Chettinad Cusine. The temples of Chettinad are decorated and if you are lucky you can see the special rituals that light them up.
Guide to the Best of Chettinad Tourism
As you go through this list of Karaikudi tourist attractions, you will see that Chettinad tourism has many shades. The only way to get the most out of this experience is to take an immersive journey. I recommend at least three days in Karaikudi to include all of this in your itinerary. If you go through this list of things to do in Karaikudi, you'll see why even this amount of time may sound insufficient.
Experience the deliciousness of Chettinad Food
For most people, the first thing they think about when it comes to Chettinad is food. Chettinad cuisine has made the world over for its spicy affair. The flavors are simply irresistible – so much so that I became a complete foodie. Best of all, vegetarians will be spoiled all around.
When it comes to breakfast, you will be treatedwith a variety of dosai, appams, iddiappams and idlis with a variety of chutneys and pickles that are freshly made. My dottie sipped on the Sweet Ragi Dosa while I was interested in the Iddiyappams (string hoppers) and accompanying chutneys. Lunch was always the complete banana leaf dish with an odd number of dishes – from coconut based sauces to tomato and tamarind dals with cooked rice. Don't miss the dry side dishes – the Okra Pepper Fry was just lip service!
For dinner, try the various paniyaram and appamsor even dosai. It's amazing how many varieties they offer. I also wouldn't say no to the Chettinad biryani. For non vegetarians there is plenty of fish and chicken. Here's a complete guide to Chettinad food – what makes it so delicious and what its signature dishes are. Take a look.
If you live in a historic house, then you are all sorted out. However, if you want to explore Karaikudi, look out for Jainica and Karaikudi Annapoorna Restuarant. The latter is highly recommended – they have a limited menu that changes every day. And believe me, even with this limited menu, you will crave for more!
Visit the Kanadukathan Palace
When it comes to Chettinad mansions, the mostFamous is the Kanadukathan Palace. This princely bungalow belongs to the Annamalai family and makes you want to see more. White walls with vivid blue, green columns and colorful stained glass windows, this mansion will make you wonder what the interior would look like if the exterior was so beautiful. Unfortunately it is not open to the public. If you don't get permission from the family that owns it, you are limited to it Virtual tour of the Raja's palace in Kanadukathan. Trust me, This exclusive blog post shows everything!
Mansion Hopping – one of the most important activities in Chettinad
If you can't enter the Kanadukathan Palace,Don't be disappointed. For one thing, you always have my blog tour with you. And secondly, there are tons and tons of these abandoned villas in and around Karaikudi. For this reason, mansion hopping is one of the most important things to do on your list of Karaikudi sightseeing activities. The best place to start is right next to the Raja Palace in Kanadukathan. In fact, this particular village will overwhelm you with the gigantic dwellings. A few of them like VVR Mansion, allow for a small fee.
If you visit any of them, you will be introduced to the world of mugappus and valavus, while also being introduced to the eco-friendly architecture of the place. Here you can also learn the origin of the word – Karaikudi. Karai refers to a mixture of plant extract and limestone used to build these Chettinad villas.
Check out my own villa-hopping tour of Karaikudi. It will help you appreciate and understand the intricacies of Karaikudi houses when you visit them.
Explore the Athangudi Palace
Another palace house, but in another village ofChettinad. Athangudi Palace may look familiar to some, as it is a popular filming location. The place with Italian marble, European cherubs, Athangudi tiles and ornate chandelier will impress you. As you wander through this mansion, you will also come across a pictorial history on the walls. Look at it This post about the beautiful Athangudi Palace.
Discover the Athangudi Tile Factory
Athangudi tiles are another reason for Chettinadto be known on the world map. The exclusive handmade tiles have found their way into popular resorts and hotels. When you visit one of these factories, you will realize why. It is quite fascinating to see how much work goes into a single tile. When you discover raw materials like rice husks and mineral oxides, you'll also discover how environmentally friendly they are. The factories are located very close to Athangudi Palace. Can therefore be put together with it. Here's how to tick off two of the many sights in Karaikudi.
Shop at the Karaikudi antique market
Shopaholic or not, you must visit the Karaikudi Antique Market. Karaikudi antique market is a tiny alley full of artifacts from the abandoned houses of Chettinad and resembles a living museum. You can find the rare and original Ravi Varma painting as well as the bronze sculptures of times past.For collectors, there are tons of coins and old black and white pictures on sale. Antique furniture such as metal benches, wooden columns and artistic doors are waiting to find a new home. Tips for Chettinad antique markets you need to read through this detailed article. Here's what to expect at the markets and how to get there.
Find the best of Chettinad temples
Chettinad temples aren't just about worship and devotion. They are a perfect showcase of the artistic architecture of the Chettiars. Painted ceilings, sculpted frescoes, carved columns and wooden doors – you'll find them all in the Karaikudi temples. Pillaiyarapatti Karpaga Vinayakar Temple and Kundrakudi Murugan Temple are two places you should definitely visit on your Karaikudi sightseeing list. The 9 clan temples, including Vairavan Kovil and the culture therein, add a special dimension to the places in Chettinad tourism. And finally there is this unique Clay horse temple with is own community and rituals. You can click through This post contains the list of all Chettinad temples. Chettinad Sarees are known as Kandaangi. Are very special because of their heritage. Vibrant cotton saris are still handwoven in Karaikudi, and you can visit the homes of these weavers to understand them. These saris are available in contrasting colors. Stripes and checks are the common patterns. Some of these weavers will even show you how they used to be worn – when blouses and skirts were not in fashion. The visit to the weavers' colony in Karaikudi definitely adds a different dimension to the tourism in Chettinad.
Take a Chettinad Cooking Class
The only thing I missed in TheBangala for was its food. I have heard some amazing things about it. You can not only eat it, but also cook it. The Bangala offers Chettinad cooking classes in Karaikudi, where you will learn to engage with the actual Chettinad flavors and take authentic Chettinad cuisine home with you.
Other Karaikudi tourist places
What? There is more?
Oh yes, now believe me when I say that even 3 days less could appear. I could not make it to these Karaikudi attractions. Just share it as a list – just in case you do this.
Alagappa Chettiar Museum in Karaikudi – An important Chettinad museum with a collection of things that belonged to the famous Alagappa family. Thirumayam Fort – This falls on the way from Thanjavur to Karaikudi. The fort has two temples. Is worth a short stop for its sculptures. Chettinad vintage cars& Camera Museum – For its unique collection of automobiles and photographic equipment.
I'm sure I'll have tons on my next visitMore information on this guide. For now I have prepared everything for you. Mark this guide to tourism in Chettinad and tell me which is your favorite on the list of Karaikudi tourist attractions!
There are countless historic houses that can be booked for your stay in Chettinad Booking.Com .
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