Rustic mansions and dust-clad intersections are what greet tourists when they first encounter Chettinad. And, if you think Chettinad is only as good as the first impression, prepare to surprise yourself over and over again. Chettinad is the home to a once-affluent business community that lived quiet harmoniously between two buzzing cities of Tamil Nadu; Trichy and Madurai. Of course, there is much more to Chettinad and its cultural heritage than meets the eyes.Villages in Chettinad offer everything to make a visit worthwhile; from beautiful museums to the glorious mansions, elaborate carvings on walls, pillars and doors, a wide range of temples with breathtaking architectural opulence and the Chettinad palace, everything in Chettinad is classy.
The mansions of Chettinad are a perfect way to get to know the fabulous past of Chettinad, a confluence of 75 villages. It was the toiling clan of the Chettiars that adorned the villages in all its verve and vivacity. Though the villages are only a ghost of the opulent region it once used to be, Chettinad still offers plenty of options to behold and experience for everyone wanting to be a part of this rustic land of yesteryears bankers, traders and merchants.
If the brownish roads and buildings make you think that Chettinad is all without its greenery, you can possibly never be farther from the fact. Though located at a semi-arid place, Chettiars knew how to make most of the limited water and rains they get. The water management systems they implemented rival some of the most efficient systems of the modern world. The water thus stored and harvested was distributed through canals and waterways to different villages for a variety of needs and to give the place the much needed lush greenery.
The architecture of Chettinad is another distinctive feature that makes visitors astounded; the mansions of the villages are nothing like anything you might have seen anywhere in India before. The influence of several architectural styles is an intriguing aspect to understand, and all of them are carefully blended to give the mansions an otherworldly look and feel. The splendor is further augmented by the presence of Belgium chandeliers, the Hollander tiles, Burmese teak pillars and the gorgeous Italian marbles.
Another interesting thing about the villages of Chettinad is the strong culture that is preserved carefully by the Chettiar community of the region. The cultural heritage of the community is on grand display through everything the villages offer; from its mansions, cuisine, rituals, and temples to the festivals of Chettinad.
Another aspect—perhaps the most interesting for many—is the Chettinad cuisine. The most famous and sought after dish is the Chettinad chicken, and upon tasting it, you will understand why it is so fabled across the world. Though the cuisine is innately spicy and hot, visitors can get it toned down if they so wish. The flavor, the colors and the fiery tastes of the dishes will take you on a boisterous and lip-smacking food experience like never before.
In a nutshell, the villages of Chettinad clothed in all its idyllic charm and cultural diversity are a perfect locale to experience, witness and encounter the sumptuous village life of Tamil Nadu.