WEAVER'S WORLD / CHETTINAD/ HISTORY
Chettinad is a region in the Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, India, which had once had a sizeable population but has since been reduced to very few villages and the two principal towns of Karaikudi and Devakottai. It was the home of the Nattukottai Chettiars, a very prosperous banking and business community. Chettinad can boast of its local cuisine (hot spicy food and curries), architecture and temples.
Originally built by early Tamil dynasties like the Cholas, the temples of Chettinad stand testimony to the spiritual beliefs of local people. Temples are built as per Vaastu Shastras and Agamas as the rich Chettinad community sponsored the buildings and the shilpis after the royal families declined. In fact traditional houses were also built as per Vaastu Shastra. Even today, much of Chettinad's daily activities are centered around the festivities of the temple. Among the many famous temples are: VairavanKovil, Iraniyur, Karpaga Vinayakar, Kundrakudi Murugan, Kottaiyur Sivan, and Kandanur Sivan temples, with each having its own unique deity.
The region is known for its 18th century mansions, wide courtyards, spacious rooms, embellished with marble and teak. The construction materials, decorative items and furnishings were from other countries in Asia and Europe. The mansions were from a special limestone and the walls and floors were polished till they sparkled.
There is not much to boast by way of Technology or Industry, except for one branch of the Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI) at the principal town Karaikudi. Nearby airports are Madurai and Tiruchirapalli. Small towns of Chettinad region are Puddukottai, Karaikudi, Kanadukaathan (which serves as the railway station for the region), Devalottai and Kallal.
Barring temples in the region, there are no tourist attractions or places to visit in the region. In fact Tiruchirapalli close by serves as a good alternative for those who land in Chettinad for any reason. One noteworthy fact about Chettinad is that it serves as a good hub for a special variety of handloom sarees known since long as the Chettinad variety.
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