To start with chettinad is famous for its architecturally magnificient mansions, Ancient temples, burma teak furnitures, traditional bronze/brass vessels, the chettinad tiles, Kottanz( reed baskets), kandangi sarees( handloom), their financial and business acumen and above all their hospitality and simplicity.
All these are what made me add the chettinad region to my bucket list.
Chettinad region which is a cluster of nearlly 72 villages is lesser known and not popular on tourist circuit compared to its 2 famous neighbouring temple towns of Trichy and Madurai but i discovered there is so much to see and do and experience in this region.
Like I mentioned in the previous post, we reached the hotel in karaikudi in a residential area @ 8 in the evening. The whole town enroute to the hotel and around resembled like a ghost town although we were close to the new bus stand. I thought being late in the evening and a holiday due to ayudha puja the town was calm . But, even the next morning when we drove the countryside to reach Pillayarpattti i realized that this is the nature of the region.
Yes, the relaxed life (but certainly not laid back or lazy) of this region inspite of the closeness to all the activity of the town is unique. Not much greenery and very dry, arid and hot even in October, There are treasures all around in the villages for city souls as the place is time warped. We saw no traffic at any point not even in bus stand or the narrow dusty lanes, we met civilized, helpful and well dressed people in traditional attire of vellai veshti and vellai sattai ( sparkling white shirt and white dhoti) even in hotels and public places like shops,.
The whole journey through the little villages where at every 2 km we found interesting indicators like Visalam, Chettinad mansion,( heritage homes), Kuberar kovil, Athangudi, kanadukuthan. etc... we saw interesting sights like houses of interest big and small showing signs of decay here and there. Most medium sized houses had 3d murals of Gods like gaja lakshmi, krishna, Ganesha etc above the wooden awnings and the bamboo grilled facades covering the thinnai were held on the walls that had the traditional temple wall painting of horizontal white alternating with Clay red. Although the mildew on most houses lent an aura, the crumbling houses, broken bamboo meshes,the chipping walls and the locks indicated that most homes were vacant for long time. The passing scenes would have made beautiful pictures for posterity and my new mobile had a DSLR quality but unfortunately could not jget out of the vehicle and dash to capture the passing moments.
The quaint charming sights and the relaxed pace of life that the whole region threw all along could make one think that life here is frozen back in time.......It was a time travel in this region. Wonder why, this is not on tourism circuit?That said , sometimes i wish it remains unknown only then can it hold on to its charm.
Glad that this cluster of villages called Chettinad is nominated for world heritage list. Hope UNESCO declares soon, It deserves the tag .
The pictures below don't do justice but still managed to capture a few from moving vehicle and hence may not be in frame.
Pillayarpatti in my next post....
The mural figurines adorning most homes big and small
The traditional festoons made of coconut glade that adorned almost at all places for Ayudha pooja
Most homes have such carved balustrades