The home turf of the business community of Chettiars, Chettinad is a village town in the Sivaganga District of Southern Tamil Nadu and is famous for the grand mansions that adorn diverse architectural styles, unique and colorful culture and heritage, arid streets and its insatiable affinity towards craft and art. Along with all these, the temple of the Community, the Clan Temples, make an exceptional part of the lives of the people live here.
Though most of the people from the community have moved away from Chettinad to other adjacent cities and other countries, festivals of Chettinad are one rare occasion where most of them come back to their home land to revel in the joy of meeting their family members and relatives.
Rooted heavily in the Hindu mythology, there are several festivals the community celebrates; of the many, the most important one is the Sevvai Perum Thiruvizha. The festival translates as ‘the big festival of Tuesday’ in the local tongue, Tamil. The festival is one of the most different and must-experience festivals in Chettinad, and even perhaps in Tamil Nadu.
The festival is celebrated at the Koppudai Nayaki Amman for ten consecutive days starting from the last Tuesday of the Tamil month Chithirai that falls between the months April and May until the first week of the Tamil month Vaikasi, which falls between the month of May and June.
During the festivals, huge terracotta statues of animals such cows and horses are made and worshipped. The terracotta models are painted, ornated with different colors and lined up so that they can offered prayers and worshipped. These animals are believed to be holy for the people following Hinduism. Apart from this, the animals are an integral part of the lives of the farmers, and without these animals, they cannot do anything on their farmlands. This is also an important occasion where the farmers pay their thanks and homage to the animals that sustain their lives and crops. There is a legend behind worshipping the horses during the festival.
The festival much like anywhere else in India is filled with music, colorful lights and fairs. There will be several merchants and traders who come from faraway places to sell their items to the people coming to enjoy the festival. The grounds near the temple will be filled with people from everywhere. Like many festivals in India, Sevvai Perum Thiruvizha of Chettinad also is an opportunity for people of other culture to understand, learn and experience the culture Chettinad. The loud expressions, intense celebrations and music are always the most defining aspects of any festival one can experience in Tamil Nadu and India at large.
Since the festival is more of a religious affair, it is important that the visitors be mindful of their clothing while trying to enjoy the festival and modest clothing is expected. Though photography is permitted, it is always advised that you use your discretion well before taking photographs and if needed, take permission before photographing.