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Chettinad – Discovering Tamil Nadu’s Hidden Gem 2024

Chettinad, Nestled in the heart of Tamil Nadu, India, and the region of is a treasure abundance of rich cultural heritage, luxurious mansions, and mouthwatering cuisine. Travelers can enjoy a distinctive and engaging experience in Chettinad, thanks to its vibrant traditions and rich history. Discover the splendor of its historic mansions, savor the flavorful and aromatic Chettinad cuisine, and lose yourself in this hidden gem’s ageless charm. Come along as we unravel the engrossing tale of Chettinad.

Firstly, Chettinad is a region, not a single location. It is made up of 75 villages that together form the Chaad region, which includes the main town of Karaikudi. The people who live in this region are referred to as Chatar, and in the past, the people who lived in Chaad were wealthy merchants. who traded throughout India as well as overseas, and who eventually accumulated so much wealth that they used it to build huge mansions all through Chettinad region.

Chettinad – Discovering Tamil Nadu’s Hidden Gem

Chettinad is famous for its mansions, palaces, and cuisine, specially the Saree; some GI types can be found here. Chettinad, a region known for its rich cultural heritage and fascinating history, originated as a hub for trade in salt and spices. There are so many things to do specially for those who are interested in Rich history and Heritage culture.

Things to do in Chettinad

  • Chettinad unique temples
  • Luxurious Mansions
  • G1 Tag Saree
  • A Flavorful Food Journey
  • Staying in Heritage Mansions

1.Chettinad unique temples:

 Kunnakudi Shanmugaratnam Temple
Kunnakudi Shanmugaratnam Temple

The Shanmugaratnam temple in Kunnakudi, also known as Kunnakudi, is believed to have been constructed by Pandya kings and was also revered by the sage Agasthya. The Kunnakudi Tiruvannamalai Mutt Adikam is currently responsible for the upkeep of the Kunnakudi / Kunnakudi Shanmugaratnam temple.

In this temple Lord Sri Shanmuganathar appears sitting on a peacock facing east. The peacock has two goddesses sitting on it: Goddess Valli and Goddess Deivanai.

The Hindu deity Murugan is worshipped at the Kunnakudi Shanmugaratnam Temple in Kunnakudi, a village outside of Karaikudi in the Sivaganga district of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The temple, which was built in the Hindu architectural style, is about 14 kilometers from Karaikudi along the Tirupattur-Karaikudi Road. On the western face of the lower rock are three caves containing eighteenth-century Pandyan Empire rock-cut shrines. The earliest known sculptures of Dvarapalas are found in the caves.

Three caves with eighteenth-century Pandyan Empire rock-cut shrines can be found on the western side of the lower rock. The caves contain the oldest known sculptures of the guardian deities, Dvarapalas, of any South Indian temple. The temple’s five-tiered gateway tower, the gopuram atop the hill, leads to the sanctum and a hall supported by pillars. Opening hours for the temple are 6:00 am to 11:00 am and 4 pm to 8:00 pm. The temple is home to numerous annual festivals and four daily rituals, the most notable of which are Panguni Uthiram, celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni, and Thaipoosam, celebrated during Thaipoosam.

Kunnakudi Shanmugaratnam Temple
Kunnakudi Shanmugaratnam Temple
Sri Solai Valartha Ayyanar Temple
Sri Solai Valartha Ayyanar Temple

Another fascinating non-clan temple worth visiting is Sri Solai Andavar, which is situated outside of Palathur villages. “Garden God,” or “Solai Valartha Aiyyannar” as it is known in Tamil, is situated in a serene, hallowed grove. Kuladeivam, the family deity of the people in and around Sivaganga, is the object of devotion at this temple.

In its main shrine, Lord Ayyanar, the god of rainmakers and protector of people, cattle, crops, land, and the natural world, sits with a whip in his hand. Devotees fulfill their vows during the Ayyanar temple celebrations by taking part in the holy rite known as Kuthirai Eduppu (horse dedicating), which consists of arranging the shrine of Lord Sri Solai Andavar in a circle around colorfully painted ceramic horses.

Chettinad Mansion
Kanadukathan Palace in Chettinad

The Chettiar community, referred to as the Nagarathar (town people), took on a new moniker once they relocated to the hamlets surrounding Karaikudi. Nattukottai Chettiars was the name given to them shortly after. Because of their magnificent homes in Chettinad, the name Nattukottai means “fort on land.” Their homes reflected their wealth in exact proportion. An improved family fortune was correlated with a larger mansion.

The maritime industry kept prospering and expanding in prominence. Their transition from merchants to lenders of money affected not only the surrounding villages but also the monarchs. They even extended their lending to the British East India Company. They relocated abroad, mostly to South East Asia, as their business expanded over time.

Here is few famous Mansions of Chettinad

Athangudi palace
Athangudi palace

This is where you can enter the Athangudi Palace’s interior. The palace is a stunning example of Indian and European architecture combined. The first glimpse is visible in the image itself, where the Indian Deity is being guarded by British soldiers.

To be honest, the Chettinad mansions are spread throughout Karaikudi and the hamlets that surround it. But if I had to pick just one cluster, Kanadukathan would be it. Actually, for mansion hopping in Karaikudi, this is the best place to be. This is the location of the well-known Kanadukathan Chettinad Palace. You must obtain special permission to visit that, which comes after a lot of calling and networking.

Chettinad Saree
G1Tag Saree
Chettinad Saree
G1 Tag Saree
Chettinad Saree
G1 Tag Saree

South India’s Chettinad region is a heritage land renowned for its food, architecture, temples, and culture. The popular Kandangi Sarees, also referred to as Chettinad Sarees, are the native cotton sarees of this region, handwoven with distinctive patterns, contrasting borders, and earthy colors. The well-known Kandangi Sarees, also referred to as Chettinad Sarees, are the indigenous cotton sarees of this area, handwoven with distinctive patterns, striking borders, and earthy colors. The significance of the Kandangi Sarees has been established by their receipt of the GI Tag in 2019.

Chettinad Food
Chettinad Platter

Chettinad is well-known for its huge mansions, exquisite art and architecture, and rich cultural legacy. However, in more recent times, its delicious cuisine has gained recognition worldwide. Chettinad eateries are opening up in practically all major cities and towns across the globe.

The spicy aroma of Chettinad food is well-known. AS ingredients like cheese, butter, and cashews are rarely used in Chettinad recipes, the majority of the food is easily digested and has fewer calories than other South Indian cuisine. Small amounts of coconut, which is dreaded by all due to its high cholesterol content, are also used.

Idiyappam, paniyaram, vellai paniyaram, karuppatti paniyaram, paal paniyaram, kuzhi paniyaram, kozhukatta, masala paniyaram, aadikoozh, kandharappam, seeyam, masala seeyam, kavuni arisi, maavurundai, and athirasam are a few of the well-liked vegetarian dishes.

Here is list where you can authentic Chettinad Food

Kavunarisi, chutney, Paniyarapam, & idli
Kavunarisi, chutney, Paniyarapam, & idli
Banana Leaf lunch
Banana Leaf lunch
Lentil soup
Lentil soup
View of Heritage mansion
Heritage Mansions In Chettinad

Karaikkudi is a modern town with all the amenities one would expect from a small Indian town. Rejoicing in Chettinad is most enjoyable if you stay in a village outside of the town. The main village is called Kanadukuttan, and a few of the mansions there have been turned into hotels. In five years, the majority of the old mansions will probably be hotels or bed and breakfasts. Because staying at Chidambara Vilas in Kadiapatti village is an experience in and of itself, we selected the best option available.

We traveled to Chettinad to celebrate our third wedding anniversary because of this Heritage hotel. See why booking a room at Chidambara Vilas is the ideal way to experience Chettinad ahead of time.

Chidambara Vilas, a 118-year-old heritage Chettiar house, offers a genuine display of the opulent lifestyles of the last century in Chettinad.

Real restoration
The Sangam group, the property’s manager, spent three years restoring the property, which is why the luxury is really in the details. One of the greatest displays of genuine Chettinad architecture, furnishings, glasswork, tile work, and paintings is currently available for you to see.

Chidambara Vilas
Chidambara Vilas

exquisitely reconstructed rooms
The rooms have been meticulously reconstructed and restored. In addition, the rooms have been tastefully upgraded with all the comforts and conveniences to provide a customized stay that offers the best of both worlds—a full century apart.

Chidambara Vilas
Chidambara Vilas

How to reach Chettinad

Regular bus services are available from nearby Trichy and Madurai to Karaikudi.
Trains from Chennai to Karaikudi run throughout the night.
The closest airports, in Madurai and Trichy, are about 100 km away, and from there you can hire private taxis.

Best time to Visit

October to March is the ideal time to visit, as the weather is pleasant and sunny all day round

Travel Advice

The most important sights in Karaikudi are the Mansions of Chettinad. If you haven’t completed this, you haven’t visited the location. I heartily urge you to visit Kanadukathan for your initial mansion hopping excursion. Some homes, such as the VVR mansion, let you inside for a nominal charge. To see the splendor within, you really have to try to visit one of them.
It’s best to explore mansions on foot. Of course, loose-fitting clothes and flat shoes will be more beneficial.

The majority of people there speak Tamil. Although they are able to understand Hindi and English, they will probably respond in their native tongue.


Chettinad, with its rich history, architectural grandeur, and flavorful cuisine, offers a diverse and immersive experience for visitors. By exploring its mansions, temples, and local cuisine, you can gain a deeper appreciation for the cultural heritage and unique charm of this hidden gem in Tamil Nadu.

Q.1 What are some popular tourist attractions in Chettinad?

A. Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, Athmanathaswamy Temple, Chettinad Palace, Pillaiyarpatti Temple

Q.2 What are some popular festivals celebrated in Chettinad?

A. Chettinad Heritage and Cultural Festival, Pongal,Tiruvila

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