Chettinad

Introduction & Travel Information

Chettinad

Introduction

Chettinad is the home of the Nattukottai Chettiars (Nagarathar), a prosperous banking and business community and for high hierarchy, non-Brahmin Vallambar (Vellalar) feudal community with an aristocrat title Nattar - Ambalam. 74 villages organized in clusters spread over a territory of 1,550 km2 in the Districts of Sivagangai and Pudukottai in the State of Tamil Nadu. It finds itself in the UNESCO nomination for palatial house sites of historic and cultural value. It is also known for its local cuisine, architecture, and religious temples.

Museums in Chettinad
The Kamban Mani Mandapam and the Kaviarsar Kannadhasan Mani Mandapam, built in honor of late poet-laureates have an amazing collection. Artefacts, traditional jewellery, clothing, huge copper vats and grain bins take you to the olden days. Devakottai has a typical setting of the olden Chettiar community especially the Periya Minor's Veedu.

Arts and Crafts
The arts and crafts of Chettinad occupy a distinct position in South Indian culture. Wood carvings, silver embellishment, woven saris, palm-leaf baskets, gold jewelry, handmade tiles, architectural styles, egg plastering are few of specimens of the wide-ranging repertoire. Kandaangi sarees or Chettinad Sarees are some of the best creations. Use of beautiful color combinations and pattern with bold checks and stripes are a beauty to look at. Unique Chettinad baskets with intricate patterns made with palm leaves are the highlight of artistic creations.

Chettinad Houses
The 18th century Chettinad houses were built in the prosperous years of the Chettiar community. The palatial houses have a unique setting with wide courtyards, spacious rooms, ornamented columns and furnishings embellished with marble and teak. The most impressive houses are found in the villages of Kaanadukathan, Aathangudi, Kandanur, Kadiyapatti. The Chettiar mansions were built using a type of limestone known as karai and were polished with a paste made out of egg whites that give it an ethereal white appearance.

Chettinad Cuisine
Chettinad cuisine is an experience to cherish. Aromatic, spicy and rich in flavors, the cuisine is one of its kind. Non Vegetarian food tops the menu that includes Chicken, Fish, Prawn, Lobster, Crab, and Lamb. They are also many vegetarian delicacies. Chettinad Chicken and Lamb is the most favored dishes from the Chettinad Kitchen.

Ayurvedic Massage
Treat yourself to a traditional Ayurvedic massage at many of the Ayurvedic Massage Centers around and in Spas at Hotels/Resorts.

Spice Shops
Fresh and orginal spices, masalas and condiments available at many of the shops.

Temples
Chettinad's lifestyle has a special position for temples, activities and festivals. These magnificent temples were built with the ruling dynasty from time to time. Built according to Vaastu Shastras and Agama Shastras, the temples exists as a testimony to the spiritual belief of the people. The wealthy Chettiars maintained these temple sites and enhanced its beauty with some of the finest intricate cravings and designs. Majestic towers, exotic architecture and a holy tank in the premises are special features of these temples. The Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in Devakottai is famous for the 108 statues of Vinayakar. Karpaga Vinayakar, Kundrakudi Murugan, Nagara Koil, Kottaiyur Sivan, and Kandanur Sivan, Vairavan Kovil, and Iraniyur temples are among the other famous temples of Chettinad.

Travel Informations

Location
Chettinad situated just 90 kms from Madurai or Trichy or Tanjavur.

How to reach
Airport: Madurai & Trichy International airport 90 kms
Railway Station: Karaikudi
Bust Station: Karaikudi

Mode of Transport in Alappuzha
Local Taxis, and 3 wheeler autos available.

Bank Timings
Most banks open from 10.00 to 15.30 hours on weekdays. Closed on sundays and 2nd & 4th saturdays. 24 hours ATM's available around the town.

Foreign Exchange
Hotels and Foreign Exchange outlets exchange foreign currencies and travellers cheques.

Postal & Telephone
Government post offices open 09.00 to 15.00 hrs. Private courier services are also available.
Public telephone with international and national dialling available at hotels and STD/NSD booths.

Shopping
The main shopping items are Spices, Artefacts and special Souvenirs made by local craftsmen.