CHETTINAD, TAMIL NADU
The Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu is fascinating. Seemingly one small village yet it contains numerous mansion-like heritage homes and temples made during the Chettiar dynasty. The Chettiars were, and still are, a prosperous merchant community and their legacy can be seen in the ornate mansions and shrines they built when at the height of their power. Many are sadly in disrepair but a few have been restored into charming heritage hotels and a museum. The wealth that created these houses is astonishing. Chettinad also offers extensive antique shopping, much of it looted from these abandoned homes but there are some charming finds from a time gone by. In addition, there are weekly ‘shandys’, (colourful village markets), visits to craftsmen working with wood and metal, silversmiths and goldsmiths, attractive textiles and an exquisite exciting Chettiar cuisine to tempt you. Not yet discovered by the world, Chettinad is a rural area certain to surprise even the most discerning traveler.