Chettinad, located in Coastal Tamil Nadu, is a region of the Sivaganga district famous for its tourist attractions - the traditional palaces and mansions which reflect the glory and opulence of a bygone era. The tourist attractions in Chettinad will help the traveler reconstruct and visualise the simple yet classy life of the wealthy Chettiar community of Tamil Nadu.
Some of the interesting tourist attractions in Chettinad are its museums. The Kamban Mani Mandapam, where the renowned Tamil poet and Writer, Kavi Chakravarty Kamban spent a major part of his life. The Kamban Mani Mandapam built in his honour, holds literary programmes on a regular basis. Then, there is the Kaviarsar Kannadhasan Mani Mandapam, built in honour of late poet-laureate, which has an Art Gallery and a library. Chettinad Museum is a must-visit place. Once a Chettinad house, it is now open to the public and gives one the rare chance of walking into the rooms of a Chettinad house with an amazing collection of artifacts - traditional jewellery, clothing, huge copper vats and grain bins.
If you wish to see how the famous Athangudi tiles are made, you should make a trip to Athangudi. A visit to a tile factory of this place will help you learn the art of making and drying these handmade patterned terracotta tiles.
Excursions from Chettinad can be made to the small, beautiful town of Devakottai, located close to Karaikudi, near Rameswaram National Highway Road in the Chettinad region. The streets of Devakottai afford one the pleasure of walking through a typical Chettiar lane lined with old Chettinad mansions; the most famous being Periya Minor's Veedu complete with Spanish tiled roof, Italian floor tiles and carved teak pillars. The Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple constructed in 1872 is an attraction here and is famous for the 108 statues of Vinayak.
This temple of Lord Shiva was built in the 10th century and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is popular for its interiors as well as outdoor inscriptions. The roof of the temple is made of granite, which adds a uniqueness to it. There are murals on the walls and its ceilings are based on the life of the great devotee of Lord Shiva, Saint Manickavasagar.
Chettiar Clan Temple
There are a total of nine temples of the Chettiar clan spread over nine villages in the Chettinad region. The places where these temples are situated include Velankudi, Soorakudi, Nemam and others. The Pandya kings granted all these temples to the local Chettiar community.
This is a temple of Lord Ganesha. It is situated in Pillayarpatti. This is an early example of a rock cut temple architecture and ranks among one of the oldest cave temples of the state of Tamil Nadu.
It is a village in Chettinad, which is famous for its unique handmade terracotta tiles. The specialty of these tiles is that they are sun-dried and beautifully patterned, which give them a traditional and appealing texture. Cement, sand, belly jelly and synthetic oxides are used to make these unique colourful tiles. The practice of making these arty tiles are part of the traditional activity at Chettinad and therefore, will be seen adorning Chettiars' ancestral houses generously.
Kamban Mani Mandapam
This temple was constructed by the Nagarathars community and dedicated to Tamil poet Mahakavi Chakravarthy Kamban. Towards the south of this temple, there is a Thai temple which features some ancient inscriptions as well as old relics on the walls.
Also known as Chettiar Mansion, Chettiar Palace is situated at Kanadukathan in the Chettinad region. This palace used to be the home of the Chettinad Raja; but now it is a heritage hotel. Burmese teak wood is used in the rooms of the mansion, and the furnishings are said to be brought from several European and East Asian countries. The dining hall in the palace accommodates at least 250 people at a time. The stone-carved pillars in the open courtyard add beauty to the mansion.