If you live in the city on some days you just feel like absconding everything and going to a place where you can find silence and peace. However, the cities are so crowded that forget about getting peace it is sometimes difficult to find a place to sit in a park. If you are tired of city life and looking for a place which is peaceful then this article might interest you. In this article, I am going to talk about a village in Tamil Nadu called Chettinad. The special thing about this village is that it has a lot of historical significance and boasts of a rich cultural heritage. Just because you have read the term “Village” don’t be judgmental about it. This particular place has a lot to offer in term of tourist attractions and culture. In this article, I would tell you all you need to know about this amazing historic village – Chettinad
Chettinad – A Guide To The Historical Village In Tamil Nadu
If you go to this place today you would observe that this particular place is filled with mansions. It is said that more than 10,000 of these mansions are more than a century-year-old. Centuries ago a community called Nattukotai Chettiar dominated this village. Most of the people in this community were businessman and bankers. However, at the dawn of the 20th century, these communities started moving to urban areas and cities like Chennai and these mansions were left to the caretakers to be maintained and looked after. These mansions which were once used as mansions became like farmhouses which were visited by these community once a year during the festival of Pongal or weddings.
It is said that the people used to trade items like gems and salt with foreign countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Burma. The profit which they earned from this business was invested to build these mansions. The region consists of approximately 75 villages with Karaikudi serving as the principal town. Most of these mansions built during that period has been converted into hotels. If you visit this place, you would be taken here by your tour guide or driver stating facts about the actors who have visited the mansion or the movies shot here. These mansions serve as a very popular tourist attraction.
As I said mansion hopping is the principal tourist attraction here. The mansions are so huge and well maintained that it would leave you awestruck. If you enter any one of the mansions you would realize the huge size of these residences. The entry and exit gate of these mansions are situated on 2 different streets. It may not be possible for you to visit all of these mansions – so, if you are short on time then you can visit Chettinadu Mansion, Periya Veedu, Ayiram Jannal Veedu and MSMM house. All of them are extremely beautiful and unique in their own way. When you visit these hotels, you would find posters and paintings on the walls. It is the paintings of the owners who used to live there before they moved out.
Apart from these mansions, there is a fort called Thirumayam Fort. In order to reach this fort, you will need to make a short climb. I would advise you to visit this fort early in the morning because if you visit it in the afternoon it really becomes very hot and would leave you exhausted. It has 3 temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Shiva as well.
When it comes to shopping you can visit the famous Muniswaran Koil Street. If you are a person who likes collecting antiques then you would find this place a gold mine. Traditional furniture and woodwork are a few unique things which you will get at this place. There is another market named Sandai which is open to the public on Monday and Thursday. However, if you are unable to reach on these days then you should check with your hotel regarding the days and timings. The market is held in nearby villages as well; the hotel would make the necessary travel arrangements in case you want to visit it.
When it comes to lodging it is all about how much you are willing to spend. The more you spend the more luxurious would be your stay. You can stay at the Bangala mansion for Rs. 7000, Chettinadu Mansion costs you Rs. 7500, Chidambaram Vila would cost you Rs. 8500. Don’t worry if you are low on budget then there are good hotels like Chettinadu Inn and Hotel Udhayam.
One common complaint the north Indians have about South India is the food. The cultures of both these sides are totally different due to which there is and will always be a clash. However, Chettinad is a little different than the other south Indian places. Since this place has a lot of tourist attraction so it has managed to shape its cuisine accordingly. The famous dishes here are Chettinad chicken, paniyaram, idiyappam and kola urundai kozhambu. I understand that these are dishes which you might have never heard of but let’s face it dishes like paneer butter masala or chicken biriyani is available everywhere but these dishes could only be found in this region.
The overall experience
Apart from all that I have mentioned Chettinad also offers cooking classes. Yes! Suppose you try the local cuisine here and you are curious about how they manage to pull off these dishes. You can take up cooking demonstrations or classes. There is an open kitchen named Visalam in this place; everyone is allowed to enter and help with the preparations of the meals prepared here.
How to get here?
If you are planning to take a flight then the nearest airport is Madurai. It is nearly 100 kilometres from the airport and should take you not more than 2 hours in a cab. Another convenient way to reach here is by taking a train from Chennai or Bangalore to Madurai. You can always go for a road trip from Chennai or Bangalore; the conditions of the road are really great and you shouldn’t face any problem.
Since Tamil Nadu is a hot place you might face the problem of heat when you visit during summer. It is advised that you visit this place anywhere between November-March when the temperatures are more soothing. There are very few places in India where you can get such an experience. If you are looking for a place with serenity and peace then you should certainly visit this place.