• Chidambara Vilas: A Heritage address that surpasses time! – Voyager’s World

    Chidambara Vilas as described by the Voyager’s World magazine; a popular subscription of leading travel agents and tour operators in India and abroad. Chidambara Vilas, stands regally as the quintessential model of a Chettinad house, bearing testimony to the sophisticated lifestyle led by the Nagarathars or the Naattukottai Chettiars, who were one of the earliest communities in the country to travel overseas for business, at a time when travel to overseas was considered unthinkable and on par with disloyalty to the country and was generally limited to a few elite who went abroad for educa...

  • The Unique Hand-made Athangudi Tiles

    Chettinad is that part of the southern state of Tamil Nadu that’s so rich in culture and heritage; amongst a plethora of other things, the region is famous for its lip-smacking cuisine as well as its magnificent mansions fit for hosting royalty… The earlier Nagarathar Chettiar communities were mainly mercantile traders who travelled far and wide to amass their wealth. Their travels also exposed them to numerous cultures, cuisines and architecture. On their return home, they tried to emulate all that they had seen and integrated them into the huge mansions that they built during the early ...

  • The Graceful Kaandangi Handloom Saris

    The Indian sari or saree is one of the world’s oldest unstitched garments still in existence; though the way of draping it has changed over the years, it still considered one of the most graceful and modest garments around that are designed to keep one comfortable even in the heat, while hiding the wearers curve and figure from unwanted attention. The history of this unique and ancient garment can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization (2800-1800 BC) where cotton was first cultivated and woven around the 5th millennium BC. It was initially worn as a loincloth by both men and women ...

  • The Magnificent Mansions of Chettinad

    The affluent Nagarathar Chettiars were a business community of the Chettinad region which comprises of the quaint town of Karaikudi and its surrounding villages. It’s believed to have been formed in the 1800s and is recognized as a heritage town of Tamil Nadu. This business-minded community had extended their influence over the seas by the eighteenth century to distant places like Sri Lanka, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and China among a host of other countries. With the wealth they amassed, they built massive homes to show off their richness; the huge mansions they built were virtu...

  • Recreation at the Mukkombu Dam

    There is something about the blues and greens of flowing water that attracts and soothes our minds as we gaze at its twinkling flight downstream. The large expanse of green surroundings usually found around water bodies is also another source of balm to our city-bred eyes that need a change from the concrete-walled structured life that we lead. The Mukkombu dam, also known as the Upper Anaicut is such a source of inspiration for sore eyes. The dam is nestled on the Kollidam River at the spot where it branches out from the main Cauvery River. It’s located about 18km away from the culture-rich...

  • Paal Pongal – An essential of Pongal Festival

    The middle of January heralds in the famed Pongal festival of Tamil Nadu that is celebrated over a period of four days, with each day having its own set of unique activities. The foods prepared on these days are special and cooked using the newly harvested rice, the staple food of Tamil Nadu, a state nestled along the eastern coast of southern India. This colorful harvest festival heralds in times of prosperity and marriages are traditionally conducted during this period, as the farmers would have enough cash from crop sales to take care of wedding expenses. It’s also a time when the farme...

  • Chettinad’s Bounty of Arts and Crafts

    The Chettiars of Tamil Nadu, also known as the Nagarathars had a special knack of turning everything they touched into gold; their business acumen was visible even as far back as the 17nth century when they became established salt traders while they were settled along the eastern coast of India. Due to some catastrophic events, the Chettiars moved inland and received a parcel of nine villages from the Pandya King to settle down in. These expanded to 96 settlements as the Chettiars travelled far and wide in their business ventures, but of recent these settlements have been reduced to 78 villag...

  • The Traditional Utensils of Chettinad

    The cuisine of Chettinad has established itself as a worthy opponent to be reckoned with among the various other dishes of India. The old rustic charm of the Chettinad region and its multitude of palatial mansions are not the only reasons why the rich Chettiars of the state of Tamil Nadu became so famous; their aromatic cuisine is something worth trying out at least once in your lifetime, and once you have tried it out, you will only want more! It’s believed that the cuisine is made special by the fact that they use freshly roasted and stone-ground spices for each meal prepared by the ‘ac...

  • The Antique Shops of Chettinad

    The town of Karaikudi is located in the hinterland of Tamil Nadu and is a three-hour ride from either Madurai or Trichy where the nearest airports are located. This town along with its surrounding dwellings makes up the Chettinad region. The Chettiars are a trading community that was initially located along the eastern port city of Poompuhar where they traded in salt with the Chola kings till the 13nth century. They then migrated inland but the reason isn’t clear; some have postulated that the relocation was due to persecution while others claim it was due to a tsunami that destroyed the po...

  • Paavakka Maanga Kulambu Recipe

    The cuisines found in the vast country India are dependent on the culture and religion of each region. The cuisines are also dependent on the unique locally available cooking ingredients. Take the southern part of India for example, you are bound to find coconuts added in most of their dishes as these can be found growing abundantly here. Of course, there is always the aspect of outside influence bearing in on the local cuisine; this influence could be due the colonial era or to the effect of ancient trading partners who influenced the taste buds of our earlier food connoisseurs. Of course wit...