Thursday, 17 October 2019

The hidden gems of Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu

About 60 km from Madurai, is a cluster of villages that is popularly referred to as the Chettinad region. The area has been an ancestral hub for the mercantile community of Tamil Nadu – Nattukottai Chettiars. The community relocated to this region post a massive flood in their original habitat. They settled into 96 different villages and travelled far and wide to bring riches to their homes. Eventually, most of them moved overseas, almost never to return.

Karaikudi is the focal point of 76 of these original villages of Chettinad. The town still retains vestiges of its original owners and offers an offbeat trail of grandeur, heritage and traditions to travellers in Tamil Nadu. Here are some interesting things that you can do in Karaikudi.

1- Discover the abandoned Chettinad Mansions

Be prepared to be dazzled at the very sight of Kanadukathan – an area near Karaikudi. Each lane is lined by palatial mansions that literally take your breath away. From their tall arched gateways to carved windows and elaborate terraces, there is plenty to admire in these mansions.

While most of the mansions are locked and can be seen from the outside, there are a few that allow the visitors to see the interiors. A walk through these reveal a typical courtyard styled home with the public areas like kitchen, dining rooms and verandahs on the ground floor. Made from the local limestone, Karai Veedu, the walls still sparkle – even without a whitewash!

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2- Explore the Athangudi Palace


via Lonely Planet India

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