Placed in the heart of South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Chettinad is a beautiful city, which is popular for its temples, mansions, woodcraft, cuisine and textiles. The capital of the ancient kingdom of Karaikudi, Chettainad, a part of Sivaganga district, comprises of a total of 75 villages. Visiting Chettinad from Bangalore during weekend would be a cultural, architectural and religious delight wherein you would also be able to relish some sumptuous delicacies of Chettinad cuisine. Chettinad is the home of the Nattukottai Chettiars, known as the Nagarathars. They were and even are, a flourishing banking as well as the business community of the region. Many times referred to as ‘The Land of Heritage & Devotion’, Chettinad boasts of owning a unique charm.
How to Reach Chettinad from Bangalore
There are no direct train between Bangalore and Chettinad. From Bangalore, you will first have to board a train to Chennai or Tiruchipalli and then from there to Chettinad. This will prove to be quite time-taking.
The nearest airport to Chettinad is in Madurai, around 90 km away from the city center. The airports in Madurai and Bangalore are connected to each other. Once you get down at the Madurai airport, you can hire a taxi from here to Chettinad.
The best way to go to Chettinad from Bangalore is to by road. You only have to rent a cab.
Hotels in Chettinad
Attractions in Chettinad
An architectural masterpiece and a historical home, Chettiar Mansion in Kanadukathan, now has been turned into a heritage hotel. This magnificent mansion is a proof of the architectural brilliance of the rulers of Chettinad. The mansion, built in typical south Indian architecture style, has attractive doors, which have beautiful detailed carvings on them. Carved pillars in the courtyard, handmade floor tiles Athungudi and antique furniture are some of the highlights.
Erected during the 10th century, the well-known Athmanathaswamy temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is connected to Saint Manickavasagar, one of his devotees. The temple along with a granite roof has attractive life-size sculptures. The ceilings and walls of Periya Mandapam are adorned with ancient mural paintings, dating back to 17th and 19th centuries when Nayak rulers were reigning. These murals have been restored and preserved.
Chettiar Clan Temple
The Chettiar community has a total of tine clan/ family temples and the Chettiar clan temple in Ilayathangudi is one of the most popular ones. Constructed way back in 707 AD, this ancient temple is placed in the heart of Chettinad. Built in unique Chettiar community architecture style, this temple consists of amazing structures of different Gods and Goddesses. The temple complex also houses a huge water tank.
Dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the Karpagavinayagar Temple in Pillayarpatti is one the oldest cave temples in the state. This Lord Vigneshwara or Ganesha temple is an excellent example of a rock-cut temple. This temple is patronized by the Pillayarpatti Nagarathar community. The idol of the presiding deity, Desi Vinayaka Pillaiyar or Karpaka Vinayakar, is around 6 feet tall. There are idols other Gods and Goddess also in the temple complex.
Very popular for its for handmade terracotta tiles, Athangudi is a beautiful serene village in Chettinad. Primarily used in ancestral houses of the Chettiars, these colorful tiles have amazing textures and patterns and are sun-dried. The designs on these tiles are made using belly jelly, cement, synthetic oxides and sand. Found in white, earthy and dark colours, these tiles can be availed with flora and fauna designs.
Kamban Mani Mandapam
Dedicated to Mahakavi Chakravarthy Kamban, popular Tamil poet, Kamban Mani Mandapam was erected by Nagarathars community. Kamban gained fame when he re-wrote Ramayana, the great Hindu epic, in Tamil. This Manadapam has been constructed on the spot where he poet used to spend long hours. Towards the south of this structure, one can also visit a Tamil Thai temple with a statue of Karaikudi Periyar, some ancient relics as well as inscriptions.
Placed 2 km westwards of Chettinad, Koviloor Aadheenam is popular for Koviloor Mada, who is known for translating all the Vedas in Tamil. It was founded by Shri Mukthiramalinga Gnana Desika Swamigal during the 18th century. He built a temple made of stone in Koviloor, called Sri Kotravaleeswarar. Madhu Puskarani is a tank nearby, which is surrounded by a Mandapam.