Chettinad is a unique and little known architectural heritage region of the Chettiar community. The region is famous world over for its unique history, architecturally brilliant mansions, ancient temples and tasty cuisine. A visit to Chettinad opens your eyes to the bygone era. The region was developed by the migrating business community of Tamil Nadu some 400 years ago. They developed the place through a vision of urban planning and development. The mansions of Chettinad are its signature attractions and tourist throngs the region all the year round for theses architectural marvels. The houses, which evolved over two centuries, are veritable palaces with the finest material used from abroad. The marble was brought from Italy, chandeliers, and teak from Burma, crockery from Indonesia, crystals from Europe and wall-to-wall mirrors from Belgium.The town of Karaikudi has been declared as a heritage town of Tamil Nadu. Travel to Chettinad also provides you a chance to satisfy your taste buds through the authentic cuisine of the region. Chettinad is also famous for its unique art of tiles making called the Athangudi tiles. Apart from the numerous heritage mansions some of the key attractions in and around Chettinad are The Chettinad Museum, the Chettinad palace, Soorakudi temple, Iraniyur temple, The seven clan temples etc.
By Air: Nearest airport to Chettinad is Madurai Airport at a distance of around 87 km. Tiruchirapalli Airport at a distance of around 88km is another option.
By Road: Chettinad is well connected with road network through Chennai and other parts of the state. Taxis and buses ply to Karaikudi and other regions on a regular basis from all the important destinations.
By Train: There are few connecting train services to Chettinad Station. The best option is Tiruchirappalli Railway Station which is well-connected with all the major railway networks of India.
The period between October to April is the ideal time to visit the places in Chettinad. The weather during this period is pleasant and suitable for outings. Summers and Monsoons are best to be avoided.
Chettinad is one of the most visited heritage destination in Tamil Nadu and in South India. It’s splendid palaces, beautiful temples and cuisine attract a lot of tourists every year. Don’t forget to visit some of these important sites during your trip to this enchanting and colorful region.
• The Chettinad Museum: The museum is must visit for traveler traveling to the region. The museum is basically a heritage house depicting unique life and times of the Chettiar in the era gone by. The museum features various ornaments, rare jewelry, artifacts and other things used by the Chettiars.
• The Chettinad Palace: Built by Dr. Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiyar in the year 1912 this magnificent and glorious palace is the most popular tourist attraction in Chettinad. An outstanding example of the Chettinad architecture, the construction style of the palace also reflects some European influence. Surrounded by nature, the palace is a combination of detailing and opulence. The construction material, decorative items as well as the furnishings that adorn the palace of Chettinad was mostly imported from East Asian countries and Europe. The palace also has a huge collection of antiques.
• Soorakudi temple: Soorakudi temple is one of the most frequented religious attractions of Chettinad. It is situated at a distance of around 10km from the town of Karaikudi and is one of the seven clan temples of the region. The temple is dedicated to Desikanathar (Lord Shiva) and Aavudayanayaki (Goddess Parvathi).
• Iraniyur temple: Located at about 25 km from Karaikudi this famous temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and goddess Parvathi. It is renowned for the beautiful 12th-century idol of dancing Shiva (Nataraja).It is one of the seven clan temples in Chettinad.
• The seven clan temples: The entire region of Chettinad around Karaikudi pays obedience to seven temples. Ilayathangudi at a distance of around 25 km, is the first clan temple. The second temple of the seven is the Vairavanpatti Temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Aatkondanathar and Sivapurandevi. At a distance of around 15 km from the city, the temple is full of paintings from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Pillaiyar temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Ganesha is another temple. The Mathur temple, the Velankudi temple, Soorakudi temple, and Iraniyur temple are the other ones.