Home to a prosperous banking and business community, Chettinad is a city of culinary delights, which is one of the main attractions for visitors.
Chettinad is diverse in cultural heritage, art and architecture. It was built by people who had migrated South and they brought with them building expertise and varying decorative styles that are evident in the beautiful Asian baroque 18th century mansions. Wide courtyards lead into spacious rooms embellished with Italian marble, Burma teak and chandeliers, Indonesian crockery, European crystal and Belgian wall-length mirrors.
The temples of Chettinad are a salute to the beliefs of the early Tamil dynasties. Each temple has its own holy water lily tank called an oorani. Some say the walls were polished with egg whites to give them their smooth texture.
Another claim to fame is the flamboyant fan of pure cotton colours of the unique Chettinad Saree with its bold patterns and contrasting tones. Women even drape it in a different way to the regular saree.
From the cool calm of the temples to the hot spice of its singular curries, Chettinad is a fusion of flavours and culture.
The myriad of colours and patterns of Athangudi tiles handmade from local soil | A visit to one of the lily-rich temples: Vairavan Kovil, Karpaga Vinayakar or Kundrakudi Murugan | Shopping for bright hand printed cotton
‘Chettinad’ also means a social caste that specialises in food preparation