Chettinad is a region located in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu in South India. Chettinad can boasts of a glorious past and includes 74 villages including Karaikudi, which is its capital. The main residents of Chettinad are the Nattukottai Chettiars, also called Nagarathers who are involved in banking and other commercial activities. They mostly live in Keraikudi, which has 18th century mansions. The houses in Chettinad are made of marble and Burma teak, are rectangular in shape with a thousand windows and many pillars. In ancient times the walls of the houses in Chettinad were polished with a paste of eggwhites to give it a smooth texture.
The prominent members are renowned philanthropists who also contribute to social, educational and cultural activities. The town is known for its homes and beautiful old temples built in traditional Dravidian style. Most temples were built by early dynasties like the Chola Empire and each temple has a tank called "oorani" where water lilies grow.

Chettinad is known for its spicy food and Chettinad sarees.

Chettinad is a region of the Sivaganga district of southern Tamil Nadu state, India. Karaikudi is known as the capital of Chettinad[citation needed], which includes Karaikudi and 74(traditionally its said as 96) other villages. Chettinad is the homeland of the Nattukottai Chettiars (Nagarathar), a prosperous banking and business community, many of whose members migrated to South and Southeast Asia, particularly Ceylon and Burma, in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The people of Chettinad speak Tamil. Today there is a diaspora of Chettinad people, who live in the USA, Singapore, Malaysia, among other places.

The city of Chettinad is situated in the southern part of TamilNadu in the district of Sivaganga. The name of Chettinad comes from the famous Nattukottai Chettiar community who inhabit this region. They are well known for the background in banking and business. Though many members of this community had earlier migrated to different Southeast Asian countries presently many members of this community are also settled in many western countries as well.

Chettinad, a place known for mansions, cuisines, temples and saris, is an attractive town in the district of Sivaganga in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Chettinad was an ancient kingdom with Karaikudi as the capital. Chettinad consists 74 more villages apart from Karaikudi.

Chettinad is the home of the famous community known as Nattukottai Chettiars (Nagarathar) and hence the name Chettinad (the land of Chettiars). Chettiars are people who carry out business and banking in a prosperous way and hence the Chettinad has a prime stance in the economy and business of Tamil Nadu state. Chettinad Saris with dramatic colors, fiery designs and patterns of checks, stripes etc are now mostly out of market.

Chettinad is renowned for the mouth watering Culinary delicacies. Chettinad cuisines, mostly spicy, attract many tourists to this town. Magnificent bungalows, palaces, castles and imposing houses are all very attractive in Chettinad. There are huge bungalows constructed during 18th and 19th centuries which can show case architectural marvels of the Chettinad community. Peacock dances are believed to be originated in Chettinad. All temple festival showcases eye feasting peacock dances.

Chettinad is know for its impressive temples as well. Most of the Chettinad temples are originally built by Tamil Dynasties such as Chola Kingdom. One major feature of the Chettinad temples is the temple tank (Oorani) in the premise for growing water lilies useful for temple rituals. Kottaiyur Sivan temple, Vairavan Kovil temple, Kandanur Sivan Temple, .Karpaga Vinayakar temple and Kundrakudi Murugan temple are few important temples in Chettinad.


Chettinad is a wonderful small town which has the remnants of its glorious past. Chettinad is famous for its houses and buildings. Chettinad is the homeland of Natukottai Chettiar also known as the Nagarathars. The Chettiars who are the residents of Chettinad are considered to be the pioneers of banking. Legends say that the Pandyan King of 13th century invited the people of Chettinad to stay here in the. They were a big business community which gave the city the name of Chettinad.


Air: The nearest airport to Chettinad is at Madurai, which is about 90 km away from the city center. Taxi facilities are available from airport to city. It will cost around Rs. 1300. Madurai offers direct regular flights to Chennai. The major International airport nearby is at Chennai. Chennai is well connected by air to domestic and foreign cities.

Rail: The major railway station nearby to Chettinad is located at Karaikudi. This is in the main rail route to Chennai. Regular trains are available to Chennai.

Road: Many buses, state owned and private, connect chettinad with other major cities in Tamil Nadu. Karaikudi is placed in the national Highway and Chettinad is well connected by road through Karaikudi. It is connected with Madurai, Chennai, Tanjore and Trichy.


Shopping in Chettinad will be a delight for an antiquarian and a tourist alike. Chettinad is famous as the land of Chettiars, the wealthiest merchant families in Tamil Nadu.The Chettinad houses with lavish furnishings - woodwork and collection of ceramic collections from across the globe still reflect the opulence of the bygone era.

While shopping in Chettinad you will be overwhelmed by the large number of antique shops and the range of antiques-from mugs and bowls from Czechoslovakia to bamboo boxes from Burma.Chettinad is the place where you can buy exquisite antique furniture as home decor. It is an added advantage if you are an expert in wood.

Fabric shopping is also interesting while in Chettinad because it is the home of the world-famous Chettinad cotton. Saris and dress materials can be bought from MM street lined with shops or the weaver's lane where it will be fascinating to buy cloth straight off the loom. If you visit the weekly markets, you may find interesting hand products like cane and bamboo baskets.


Chettinad hotels offer its distinctive Chettinad cuisine. Perhaps the spiciest, oiliest and most aromatic in India, it is the hallmark of the Chettinad community hailing from Chettinad, the deep southern region of Tamil Nadu.

The popular Chettinad dishes that you can savor at the hotels in Chettinad are the varuval (meat, fish or vegetables fried with onions and spices) and poriyal (curry) and kuzhambu (ingredients stewed in a gravy of coconut milk and spices).

The heritage hotels in Chettinad retain the old world charm with long corridors shaded by dark green wooden eaves and gleaming red oxide floors, bordered by the fabled, locally made Athangudi tiles. Even the furniture made of teak and rosewood has a distinctive Chettinad style. A stay there transports you to a bygone era of simple yet elegant living.

Some of the prominent heritage hotels in Chettinad are:

The Bangala
Hotel Chettinad Mansion


Art and Crafts
The art and crafts of Chettinad, available in plenty in the large number of antique shops in the place and the variety of antiques available there reflect excellent works of art and crafts of Chettinad. Chettinad is renowned for its cotton textiles. The beautiful designs on the cotton fabrics are excellent instances of Chettinad art and crafts. The metal ware and woodwork of Chettinad are remarkable for their design. See the exquisite Spanish tiled roof, Italian floor tiles and carved teak pillars at Periya Minor's Veedu. Learn the art of making and drying handmade patterned terracotta tiles by visiting a tile factory in Athangudi.

Chettinad Cuisine
Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India.
Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices used in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food. The dishes are hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas, and topped with a boiled egg that is usually considered essential part of a meal.

Summer 22-37°C, Winter 19-32°C
Best time to visit
October to March
Famous For
well known for its Chettinad cuisine, Mansions, and Temples